St Lucia is under a 24-hour shutdown effective immediately
Prime Minster Allen Chastanet
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet gave an update to the nation earlier tonight in which he announced that St Lucia is under a 24-hour curfew, effective immediately.
"It has become absolutely necessary to elevate our State of Emergency to a 24-hour shutdown for the next 7 days, until April 7th, 2020.
"Every person shall be confined to their place of residence, inclusive of their personal yards. In essence, we're going to put into effect a 24-hour curfew."
"A person can only leave their place of residence upon written authorization by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) inclusive of essential services. People are not permitted to go to the beach, go for a walk or to visit their neighbor. People will only be allowed to leave their place of residence for medical emergencies."
The prime minister noted that this meant that all supermarkets would be closed as well: "The tough decision to close supermarkets with immediate effect, is due to the fact that we are currently experiencing community spread of COVID-19. By allowing supermarkets to remain open, even if for just one more day, would defeat the purpose of social distancing as there will be a mass rush to purchase goods possibly allowing for further spread of the virus.
"During this time, only essential services can operate with written permission from NEMO. NEMO will also be responsible for supplying food to the elderly and poor during this time.
"I understand that many of you may be uncomfortable with the sudden implementation of this decision, however, this temporary inconvenience is for the greater good of the entire nation. Contact information for NEMO is (758) 452-3802."
Chastanet said the Cabinet had to make this decision based on the evidence at hand and recognizing the dilemma that we face:
He explained: "In essence, we still remain in control of our own destiny. We can still get through this with minimizing the loss of lives but it's going to require a more stringent approach to social distancing."
He said the other alternative would be to allow the virus to spread quicker which would put a tremendous amount of stress on the health system, well beyond our means.
The prime minister noted that medical facilities would be open for emergencies during the shutdown:
Gros Islet Polyclinic from 8 am to midnight.
Babonneau from 8 am to 4.30 pm
La Clery Respiratory Clinic from 8 am to 4.30 pm
Castries from 8 am to 4.30 pm
Bexon from 8 am to 4.30 pm
La Croix Maingot from 8 am to 4.30 pm
The Dennery Hospital, which also is a respiratory clinic, from 7 am to midnight
Micoud from 8 am to 4.30 pm
Vieux Fort Respiratory Clinic from 8 am to 4.30 pm
Soufriere Respiratory Clinic – 24 hours
Anse La Raye from 8 am to 4.30 pm
Canaries from 8 am to 4.30 pm
Victoria Respiratory Hospital – 24 hours a day
OKEU Hospital – 24 hours a day