St. Vincent and the Grenadines, on Friday, confirmed 30 new COVID-19 cases, five fewer than the previous day as the country began a four-day weekend.
The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) said that 29 of the cases are nationals detected during contact tracing, testing at flu clinics and targeted screening.
One import-related case is a non-national, NEMO said.
There are now 579 local cases of COVID-19, the majority of which are linked to various clusters, NEMO said.
And, as was the case on Thursday, NEMO no longer said that the local cases were “under investigation”, as it had been saying since the cases began emerging on Dec. 28.
The new cases bring to 720 the number of persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 in SVG since the first case was detected on March 11, 2020.
So far, 134 persons have recovered, 584 cases remain active and two persons with COVID-19 have died.
The 35 cases detected on Thursday were all Vincentian nationals.
NEMO said that all positive cases will remain isolated until cleared and that all close contacts of positive cases, must remain in their place of quarantine until receipt of their results.
“The public is asked to comply with the mass gatherings protocol which restricts all indoor mass gatherings, including funerals and house parties, to 10 persons, and outdoor mass gatherings to 20 persons.
“Outdoor gatherings include open air crusades, limes, outdoor fetes, gatherings around open bars (e.g., Heritage Square), gatherings with direct access to the courtyard or large yard or a large pool area, catamaran cruises, beach and river picnics.
“All residents of and visitors to St. Vincent and the Grenadines are reminded of the importance of consistently wearing facial coverings to protect them from being infected with the virus which causes COVID-19. Hand hygiene and physical distancing are also basic measures of infection prevention and control,” NEMO said.
On Monday, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves declared today, Friday, and next Monday, as public holidays.
Gonsalves noted that for Easter 2020, Vincentians acted responsibly and in a disciplined way by staying off the road and participating in virtual church services and avoiding events traditionally held to observe the festival.
He said this was the case on the August weekend when citizens enjoyed two holidays at home as a replacement for Carnival Monday and Tuesday.
“Perhaps, it’s an appropriate time to do so again. I sense that across our nation, the faces of men and women are strained and anxious about the increase in the local COVID cases, the effusive oozing eruption of La Soufriere, the socio-economic challenges ahead this year and the uncertainties and the unknowns before us.
“To be sure, this anxiety among our people is mixed with a resolve that our faith, our indomitable spirit will see us through, successfully [through] these awesome challenges,” the prime minister said in a national address.