Dominica introduces new safety measures to combat COVID-19

Government has introduced new, stringent safety measures to combat COVID-19 as the number of confirmed COVID cases in Dominica continues to rise.

Acting Deputy Chief of Police, Davidson Valerie said the measures have been taken against the background of continuing disregard for the established protocols which are intended to contain the spread of the virus.

Valerie said during a press briefing last night that Dominica’s Independence celebration is normally marked with festive activities that generate large gatherings, however this year the country is faced with an unusual circumstance for which particular measures must be taken.

At that same press briefing, National Epidemiolgist, Dr. Shallaudin Ahmed revealed  that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Dominica had risen to forty-two (42) and active cases to nine  (9).

“The Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica has a number of protocols established to help prevent the spread of Covid-19,” Valerie said. “Despite all these measures, citizens continue to disregard some of the basic protocols, like social distancing and wearing of masks; they continue to assemble in large groups with no apparent care.”

He outlined the policies which have been put in place, “particularly during public events” to help prevent the spread of the virus on the island.

“Effective today, [October 28 2020] anyone wishing to host a public entertainment event must have permission from the Chief of Police to do so,” Valerie stated and explained that a public event could refer to any event opened to the general public.

He said approval may be granted to the individual providing that they meet certain requirements.

Valerie made it clear that organizers must provide the start and end time for the event.

“There must be no more than 250 people at present, inclusive of event planning staff…each patron must be allowed 36 square feet at their venue,” the Deputy Chief stated and encouraged organizers to ensure that there is adequate security at the venues which, according to him, would assist in enforcing the health safety measures.

He indicated that application forms are available from the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) and can be submitted to the Chief of Police by e-mail.

“Prior to approval, a monitoring team comprising of officials from the Dominica Police Force and officials from the Ministry of Health will conduct inspection of the venue to verify information submitted in the application,” Valerie stated.

He said the monitoring team will also visit the venue during the hosting of the event to ensure compliance with the protocols and warned that any breach to the protocols will result in the event being canceled.

“Also, event organizers who breach the protocols on more than one occasion will not have events approved for a period of 90 days from the last date of infraction,” Valerie added.

He further advised that the Chief of Police will not be permitting the hosting of any event on the streets that is likely to attract large crowds and appealed to everyone to continue to work with the Ministry of Health and the police to avert any further spread of Covid-19.

On another note, the Deputy Chief encouraged individuals admitted to the various quarantine sites to observe the regulations and protocols in place.

He reported that one man who absconded from the quarantine centre last week was captured by the police, charged, convicted and fined $2000 to be paid immediately or in default, go to prison for 6 months.

Valerie further urged those in quarantine to follow the necessary protocols.

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