(PRESS RELEASE) – A mid-afternoon address to the nation Thursday by St Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris has left the population more confused, cognisant that Dr Harris is distancing himself from personally making announcements of confirmed cases, is poorly managing the fight to contain the coronavirus and withholding pertinent information relevant to the safety of families and their local communities. .
The prime minister’s broadcast to the nation was made at 2:30 p.m., but less than an hour after, Minister of State with responsibility for health, Hon Wendy Phipps, informed the nation of the federation’s ninth COVID-19 case.
“At 11.04 a.m. today, St Kitts and Nevis recorded one additional case of COVID-19 and this brings the total number confirmed cases to nine (9). The patient is a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis and resident on Nevis. There has been zero deaths recorded in the federation,” said Phipps.
She added:”Now that confirmation of COVID-19 has been received the patient is subjected to compulsory isolation in order to limit the likelihood of transmission to others. The Ministry of Health on Nevis would begin tracing the contacts of this individual, and these contacts would be subject to strict quarantine and testing.”
.Without stating that the gender of the individual, Minister Phipps did not indicate whether the patient had a travel history, leadiing to the conclusion that it is a community spread.
The 8th COVID-19 case was a female resident on Nevis who arrived from the United Kingdom on a British Airways flight.
In his address Dr Harris announced that further Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations under the existing State of Emergency will take effect on Friday morning, the 3rd April at 6:01 a.m. when the current Regulations enacted onTuesday expire and the new Regulations will run until Thursday, 9th April at 7:00pm when the Cabinet of Ministers will determine any new action to be taken.
“On Friday every person shall remain confined to their place of residence, inclusive of their yard space, to avoid contact outside of their family. You should stay at home except in special circumstances,” said Harris.
He noted that during the 6:00 a.m to 7 oo p.m. on Friday and Saturday, residents will be able to get food, medicine and medical supplies as a limited or restricted curfew will allow persons to go to supermarkets and pharmacies, to restock on the necessities of life.
“If you need to buy food or medicine, we encourage that only one member of a household leave the residence to do so; that you prepare a list of your food items and avoid unnecessary shopping and frequent visits to the supermarkets,” Dr Harris said.
He advised those who leave their residences to practice social or physical distancing by maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet (6 ft.) in or outside of any business place.
He then encouraged everyone to wear a face mask, which covers their nose and mouth. A curfew remains in place from 7:00pm Friday night to 6:00am Saturday morning. On Saturday night, at 7:00 pm, a full 24-hour curfew, a total lockdown, is reintroduced until Wednesday morning at 6:00am. This means a full 24-hour lockdown on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, continuing until Wednesday (8th April) at 6:00am.
Dr Harris did not state where residents will be able to obtain leading local businessman A U Browne to ask whether N95 masks will be distributed by the Ministry of Health to every resident.
“When will we hear the results of the other tests that were announced two weeks ago? They need to come clean with the truth. CARPHA said tests takes 24-48 hours,” asked Browne, who added: “Whoever writing PM Harris speeches ought to be fired. Everytime he address the nation he confuses everybody.”
“Where are they (masks) available,” asked Russell Williams.
With St Kitts and Nevis und 24-hour lockdown for most of this week, heads of household and workers are asking where will they get money to buy food for their families. Prime Minister Harris has made promises of financail assistance but there has been no further information.
“Replenish your household people with no income (this) week?,” asked Ron Carty.
“What happen to those single parents who aint getting any pay this.week and who lives from pay cheque to pay cheque?
What will they shop with tomorrow? Did the Unity Government not realise some of these same.persons are their suporters? What will they shop with tomorrow to feed ther children? His speeches wasn’t ready yet, isn’t ready yet and will never be ready,” said Dahlia Jeffers, who questioned Dr Harris’ leadership. “Ain’t everything Amazon sells and since it don’t sell leadership, some will never ever be a leader.”
Accusing the Team Unity Government of just copying policy from other nearby caribbean governments, they pointed to the absence of leadership from prime minister Harris.
“No sense of leadership in this grave situation…I thought I heard St Kitts and Nevis was leading the planning for this pandemic? If the other Caribbean islands were really following us as we were led to believe (by PM Harris) – what a catastrophe? said BeaverNightingale.
The Government has been accused of having more information of positive results but is afraid to make the announcement and is just presenting them periodically.
It must be noted that confirmation of positive cases is announced by minister Wendy Phipps in a separate announcement just after a broadcast or press confernce by Prime Minister Harris.
“Why closed down for two or three days, open up for another two days and allow people to mingle with large crowds outside supermarkets and pharmacies, then closed down again, It shows bad planning. The way to fight this virus is to stay at home,” said Bobby Jack.