Health officials in Saint Lucia fear that unless the spread of COVID-19 on the Island is contained, cases could almost triple.
The fears were expressed as new measures were announced to curb the spread of the virus, amid concern over a continuing increase in recorded cases.
Providing an update to the nation on Friday, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George noted that at the time, this country had recorded 156 cases of COVID-19 with two deaths.
She said there was one patient in critical condition at the Respiratory Hospital.
The CMO also explained that contact tracing teams have noted a lack of compliance with protocols.
“It puts us at this stage in a very critical position where if we don’t work to break the chain of transmission with immediate effect, it would lead to our forecasting and our projections over the next 14 days to almost tripling the numbers that we are noting to date,” Belmar-George warned.
According to the new provisions to stop the spread of COVID-9, mass gatherings and social activities are now strictly prohibited with no provisions for celebrations of any kind.
These include birthdays, retirements, weddings, funerals receptions and beach picnics.
All daily church and religious services are limited to 25 people within the church compound.
There are also restrictions on the sale of alcohol, with a provision that stand alone bars must close at 4.00 pm and gatherings outside of bars are prohibited.
Consumption of alcohol on the premises is not allowed.
Gas stations, supermarkets, restaurants and food vendors can sell ‘take away’ alcohol until 9.00 pm with no ‘dine in’ being allowed.
Saint Lucians are also being encouraged to work from home where possible as part of the new measures which go into effect on Monday and will be reviewed in the next week.
Headline photo caption: Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharon Belmar-George