Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has announced that the state of emergency will be extended for a further five months, while also announcing a further roll back of the night time curfew and a reopening of more businesses but the resumption of face to face school classes has been postponed.
Miss Mottley made the disclosures during a live address to the nation where she stated that progress has been made in battling the COVID-19 pandemic but that there is still some way to go.
Prime Minister Mottley also promised that the water issues affecting rural parishes will be addressed while outlining several short term measures such as the purchase of two million gallons of water a week from Dominica.
Speaking prior to the Prime Minister, Health Minister Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic said that covid cases appear to be trending in the right direction disclosing that over the past seven days the positivity rate has been around 2%.
He said this was encouraging but that he would still like to see it go lower.
He revealed that members of a church in the north linked to a covid cluster had heeded the calls for them to come forward and had presented themselves for testing.
Some have been found to be positive for covid 19.
The health minister described the behaviour in relation to the church as reckless and irresponsible and said it could not be tolerated as it put everyone at risk.
He also disclosed that there have been
11 cases among the security guards at the QEH and 3 cases at a day nursery and that all of these cases are connected to the church in the north.
He appealed to all entities to comply with the covid protocols.
Meantine, attorney general Dale Marshall noted that the current covid directives were due to expire in a few days on April 26th and announced that the state of emergency will be extended.
Parliament has been recalled from its easter recess and will meet at 11 30am tomorrow morning to debate a resolution to extend the state of emergency from the 27th of April to the 25th of September.
Prime Mottley also noted that Barbados has been seeing improvements week by week in the covid situation and said that’s why the US travel advisory was so surprising and, in her words, hard to swallow.
She stated that the gradual reopening of the economy will continue with measures that will run for three weeks from the 27th of April to the 17th of May.
The curfew will start at midnight instead of 11pm. and will end at 5am on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays remain without a curfew.
Drive-ins and cinemas will reopen with conditions.
Churches can administer communion and baptism can resume with masks and faceshields worn and held outside wherever possible.
She stressed that there are to be no picnics, fetes, karaoke or parties during the May Day holiday.
Sporting activities can resume for practice and training only, but spectators are not allowed.
Nightclubs are still not allowed to open.
The Prime Minister stated that schools are not yet ready to resume face to face classes and classes will resume online from 27th April.
In relation to vaccines the Prime Minister promised that over the next 8 to 10 weeks most of the second vaccines doses will be administered but
Barbados is waiting for the arrival of the next batch of vaccines being obtained via the Covaxx facility.
She revealed that testing has shown the UK variant is present here but none of the other variants so far.
In relation to the water problems in rural Barbados Miss Mottley stated that she had held a 6 hour meeting with the BWA and that meetings were also held with the union; and she promised that the water issues will be dealt with.
Immediate measures will include increasing the delivery of water by tankers and also increasing the number of community tanks.
More water tankers are being purchased and Barbados will be purchasing between two and two and a half million gallons of water per week from Dominica.