Minister of Health St. Clair “Jimmy” Prince is flagging what he says is “an alarming trend of mass gatherings in private and public settings” despite the spike in COVID-19 cases that has claimed about six lives weekly since September.
“We are appealing to churches, public transportation operators, bars and restaurants to please adhere to the COVID-19 protocols,” the minister told a press conference on Tuesday.
“This is not just a health issue. It’s a national issue and need all sectors on board. We are not pleased with the large numbers who still gather for funerals and weddings. And soon, we will propose new measures in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.”
The minister said that there are still “carnival-like celebrations” at funerals.
“People stay in the cemeteries too long,” he said, adding that this is still the case although the government changed the time so that funerals begin by 10 a.m. and cemeteries close at 3 p.m.
“But that has gone by the way, it seems, and we have too many people at these funerals jamming up with each other, sometimes without masking, etc., no social distancing,” Prince said.
“We’re also appealing to all entertainers, promoters, event coordinators, our restaurant owners to keep the recommended numbers for mass gatherings,” he said, noting that this should not more than 10 people for indoor events and no more than 20 for outdoor events.
“The ministry, at this time, is not granting permission to exceed the required numbers,” Prince said.
As of Wednesday, SVG had recorded 4,729 cases of COVID-19 since March 2020, of which 56 people have died and 1,699 cases remain active.