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Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 09, 2021 (SKNIS): Health authorities in St. Kitts and Nevis have ruled out the introduction of a 24-hour lockdown at this time, noting that rising cases of COVID-19 remain manageable.

On Tuesday’s (June 08) edition of Leadership Matters, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws, announced that 25 new cases of the Novel Coronavirus were detected, taking the number of active cases to 66.

Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, Medical Chief of Staff of the Joseph N. France General Hospital, said that closing the country for the next 14 days is not necessary given the facts on the ground.

“Our positivity rate, as you heard, is very low, 1.56 percent, which is below the threshold of concern which is 5 percent,” he expressed. “Our death rate is zero. We have had a few super spreaders, but the R-value or the number of persons each person infects is low, below one. Our healthcare system remains robust, and it is not overwhelmed as we have four admissions who are stable.”

Dr. Wilkinson added that the high number of persons in the Federation who are vaccinated against COVID-19 is also encouraging as the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine offers significant protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death from the deadly virus.

He added that 24-hour curfews are a last resort, describing it as a “nuclear option.”

“These public health decisions cannot be made in a vacuum, however. They have to be embedded in a broader policy that considers the social, psychological, and economic impact on citizens and residents,” the Medical Chief of Staff said. “Other parameters that are considered include the population demographics, population density, the weather and the infrastructure of the healthcare systems.”

Dr. Wilkinson strongly encouraged all citizens and residents to do their part in the war against COVID-19. They are advised to wear a face mask in public spaces, sanitize hands frequently, boost their immune system, maintain physical distancing, avoid large crowds, and get vaccinated.

“We need to learn to live with COVID. This does not mean zero COVID cases but decreasing our risk of exposure and increasing our protection against severe disease and death,” he stated, noting that vaccination remains the best way out of the pandemic.

While a 24-hour lockdown is not necessary at this time, health authorities have implemented a nightly curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. up until June 22, 2021.

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