Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves continues to hold his position, refusing to heed calls for a lockdown of the country allowing only movement of essential workers.
Dr Gonsalves contends that lockdowns by countries in the region and further did not redound to the greater good of the nations. He expressed strongly that strategic approaches involving stricter regulations and the management and adherence to the recommended protocols can be more beneficial in terms of managing the spread of the virus.
“Experiences in other Caricom member states, and globally, suggest that states of emergencies, curfews and total lockdowns have not been nearly as effective in stemming the rise or spread of the Coronavirus. At the same time, real damage has been caused to lives and livelihoods by draconian measures, tight-as-a-drum lockdown, or nighttime curfews.
“Other experiences elsewhere, including St Vincent and the Grenadines, have shown that nuanced and targeted restrictions and regulations are no less effective. But theses nuanced, targeted restrictions and regulations must be properly policed,” Dr Gonsalves said in a national address Tuesday night.
“So, our government will not at his time of a spike in the cases, even with a spike, order any state of emergency, lockdown or curfew. But the current restrictions and regulations will be tightened and managed more closely. And, where necessary and desirable, we would ramp up the restrictions and controls further,” the Prime Minister also said.
Dr Gonsalves said that as the health system tackles Covid-19, it must always be emphasized that this nation cannot drop its guard on the vital matter of maintaining basic, essential public health care for the population. He said that the maintenance of a sound primary and public healthcare system is an essential prerequisite in the overall fight against the virus.
“This is not an either/or choice. Both are profoundly inter-related.
“It is for this reason that the health authorities have organized the primary health care delivery in such a way to address both the Covid battle and the primary healthcare requisites in a judicious and balanced apportionment of the twin sets of tasks between the 39 clinics, polyclinics, rural hospitals and health centres. The fight against a contagious virus like Coronavirus is necessarily wrapped up with the regulation and control of the movement of persons and of mass gatherings.
“These are always challenging issues of policy and implementation generally and in liberal democratic societies in particular,” the Prime Minister told the nation.