Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says provisions of the Disaster Risk Management Act will be rigorously enforced as part of the Government’s increased coronavirus (COVID-19) control measures.
“The Orders have been established in law as to what persons must do, and failure to comply will attract some sort of penalty. The police have been working with the public health sector and other stakeholders. We are going to have to enforce more rigorously. We are going to probably have to do a public display of enforcement, so that persons can understand that we are serious and there are consequences to ignoring the protocols,” he said.
Dr. Tufton was speaking with members of the media during a public education activity to promote the use of masks in public spaces. The exercise saw teams from the Ministry and the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) distributing Ministry of Health and Wellness-branded fabric masks to commuters in Half-Way Tree square on Monday (August 31).
In April of this year, the Government announced the mandatory wearing of masks in public spaces as part of measures to contain the transmission of COVID-19.
Dr. Tufton said a critical aspect of the Act is the wearing of masks in public spaces.
Pointing to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases across the island, the Minister attributed this to delinquency by persons in adhering to the health safety protocols established by the Ministry.
“Part of the analysis we have done shows the breach in the protocols that are established. A lot of persons are not observing the quarantine protocols and are exposing their families and their communities. A lot of persons are not wearing masks in public spaces and are not sufficiently sanitising,” he said.
The Minister again urged members of the public to adhere to the COVID-19 public safety protocols.
“The challenge is that those consequences are not just about the wrongdoer in question; it is about others who they may infect and affect.
The challenge we face is that too many persons are not doing what they ought to do. We want to use moral suasion because we don’t want to arrest or charge anybody, but sometimes it is important to send a message,” he warned.
On August 30, the country recorded 245 new confirmed COVID-19 cases. This brings the total number to 2,357.