Government of Montserrat

STATEMENT BY PREMIER JOSEPH E. FARRELL ON NEW GOVERNMENT MEASURES FOLLOWING 2nd CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASE

(Wednesday March 25, 2020) Statement delivered during press conference.
 

Premier, Hon. Joseph E. Farrell


 

My fellow Montserratians, residents, visitors and members of the Press.
 

As promised, I will continue to update you on my Government’s actions as we work through this COVID-19 pandemic together.
 

As part of the Ministry of Health’s response to managing the Corona Virus Pandemic here on island, samples are collected from persons displaying Flu Like symptoms and are sent overseas to be analyzed.
 

On Monday March 23rd, 2020, the Ministry sent eight samples to the Caribbean Public health Agency (CARPHA) laboratory in Trinidad.
 

The results of those samples returned on Tuesday March 24, 2020, showing 7 negatives and one positive case of the Corona Virus.
 

Last evening through a Government Information Unit Press release, the results of those tests were shared with the Population.

 
Therefore, the Minister of Health – Hon. Charles Kirnon, Director of Primary Health Care, Dr. Dorothea Hazel-Blake and I, are here today to provide a further update and to respond to questions from the press.
 

As of yesterday Tuesday March 24, we recorded a SECOND CASE of the Corona virus, while we were hoping for no additional positive cases, we have to accept this reality and implement measures to prevent any further transmission —“One additional case of COVID -19, IS ONE CASE TOO MANY FOR MONTSERRAT
 

The announcement of Montserrat’s first case would have caused some anxiety, and no doubt the announcement of a second case will cause further concern and quite rightly so. After all, we are dealing with many uncertainties where this virus is concerned.
 

In my many press briefings, I reminded you the people of this country that your health and safety is my government’s top priority and that if and when circumstance demands it, my government will not hesitate to put additional measures in place to safeguard your health.
 

Following last evening’s announcement, Cabinet convened an emergency meeting and has agreed on some additional measures.
 

The measures in place will provide for a lock down of Montserrat, with the exception of essential services. These measures are being put in place for the suppression and containment of COVID-19. The new order lays out, the essential services and also provides for a lowering of the gathering of persons from 25 to four. As of tomorrow (Friday March 26) at 6:00p.m. no gatherings larger than 4 will be permitted on Montserrat – with one exception, for funerals. In the case of funerals, 15 persons will be allowed.
 

However, the restriction on public gatherings to four persons, does not apply to customs Airport and Seaport for passengers embarking and disembarking the island, and it does not apply to persons providing essential services on Montserrat.
 

We continue to ask you to adhere to social distancing, that is, 6 feet between each other to avoid the spread.
 

In addition, a curfew has been implemented from 7p.m. to 5a.m. daily. During the period 5a.m. to 7:00p.m. daily, persons are permitted to be in public places for certain purposes, that is for medical purposes, pharmaceuticals, shopping and for travelling to and from work. The purpose of engaging with individuals in public is not provided for. We also provide for persons to gather in no more than 4, for the purpose of exercising, as we recognise that the health of our people does in fact require people to exercise.
 

The order also provides for essential business places to close at 6p.m. daily to ensure workers are off the street before the curfew hour of 7p.m. The restriction of this curfew does not apply to essential services, such as Montserrat Utilities Limited, the hospital, the police and fire service. The full list will be published.
 

In addition to these measures, the previous measures which were in place will still continue. Schools are closed during the period and persons entering the country will be required to self-quarantine for 14-days.
 

This order comes into place at 6:00p.m. tomorrow March 26, 2020.
 

However, whilst we continue to do all in our power to keep you safe and healthy, we also need everyone to play their part to prevent, detect, manage, and contain the spread of COVID-19 within our community.

 
The Government of Montserrat does not take the health our population lightly, as we see the widespread effect this pandemic is having on the lives of people across the world.
 

To this end, the Police will be given additional responsibility within the confines of the law to arrest and charge persons who have been found to be violating these measures. As it is only by complying with these regulations will we be able to manage this crisis effectively.
 

I want to close by reassuring the Montserrat public that your Premier, Ministers, Health Authorities, Public Service and other key stakeholders are actively monitoring the situation and will continue to make decisions on future adjustments based on risk assessments.
 

Remember that we are all in this together and we shall overcome.
 

Let us contain COVID-19 together.