While the government is considering the reopening of beaches, Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh says it has not yet set a date. Beaches on the islands were closed on April 15 as COVID-19 infections soared, resulting in a greater demand for bed spaces in the parallel healthcare system. Rivers and streams have been closed since 2020.
Speaking on Aakash Vani 106.5 FM Morning Panchayat, Deyalsingh said he understood that people were experiencing pandemic fatigue. Citizens have been clamouring for the reopening of beaches, with some people risking being caught and charged under the Public Health Regulations.
Deyalsingh could not give a date for the reopening. He said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley usually makes those decisions after assessing the epidemiology data. However, he said the current seven-day rolling average was over 200 new cases per day, which was unacceptably high.
“We still have people dying every day. We still have 400,000-500,000 adults who are unvaccinated. So the population really has to work with us and do their part. If we can get more and more people vaccinated, bring down the seven-day rolling average, bring down the deaths per day, things can get back to more and more normalcy. So the population has to examine their collective conscience and see how we can work together to bring the bad number down,” Deyalsingh said.
During a media conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s on September 23, Rowley said Cabinet discussed creating safe zones for beaches and sports. Rowley hoped that if the Technical Director of the Epidemiology Division at the Ministry of Health, Dr Avery Hinds, provided a favourable report on the COVID-19 situation, following the opening of safe zones, Cabinet anticipates it will be able to consider opening up beaches and sporting activities.
“If we behave well and we get good results by the middle of October, we will be considering those things,” Rowley said
Reporter: Kevon Felmine