New Govt reviewing APNU/AFC’s “phased reopening” plan

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The new PPP/C Administration is currently reviewing the criteria for reopening of the country.

Under the previous APNU/AFC Administration, there were four phased re-openings. The last phase, which was in motion, began on August 1 and comes to an end August 15, 2020.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, in a recent virtual interview, noted that a team comprising of health and legal officials, is working to draft a new order for reopening.

He noted that a phased reopening approach will be taken, but this time key details will be considered as the country moves from one stage to another.

“Those phases are dependent on the epidemiological picture that we have and the data that we are collecting. That means, if you have an increase in cases then perhaps you would need to evaluate to see whether you can go forward with the next stage of opening or you would have to stay where you are,” he explained.

Given that COVID-19 is a disease that is still being widely researched, Minister Anthony said that policymakers must rely on technical and scientific advice to evaluate current situations before decisions are made.

In the new order to be issued, mandatory mask-wearing will be highlighted while public compliance will be heavily emphasised. Also, adherence to other guidelines such as social distancing will be reiterated.

“This is not the Government’s issue alone. This disease is affecting people, and it depends on people’s behaviour. If you do not subscribe to the rules that are in place, especially those for prevention we are going to have an increase in spread,” the Minister underscored.

He noted that a worsening situation depends on the citizen’s compliance and adherence to simple, and basic guidelines, which are life-saving interventions. While the Government will have to resort to new measures for public compliance, it still is dependent on each citizen to do their part to stop COVID-19 in its tracks.

“We can have the best rules in place, the best pieces of legislation in place but ultimately it depends on people because you can’t have a policeman at every citizen’s door to see that they are doing the right thing.”

The Health Minister is urging that the public abide by the rules put in place, since these would have been implemented with people’s best interests in mind.

The Ministry will also roll out a mass education programme, especially in endemic areas, enlightening citizens of their responsibilities while letting them know of how severe COVID-19 can be if preventative measures are ignored.