Covid case count rises, details of Royalton cluster revealed

Fully vaccinated travellers no longer have to utilise the taxi services at the airport, but may instead use private transportation to get to their destinations.
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Government says nightly curfew will remain in place for now

By Orville Williams

[email protected]

The discovery of a Covid-19 cluster at the Royalton Resort has resulted in another increase in the country’s active infection count.

According to the Health Ministry’s latest update – at the time of writing – there were 74 active cases of the virus on the island, after 34 new cases were discovered between August 7 and August 10, the next most recent update.

The majority of these new cases were said to be non-imported, which could lead to concerns about how the virus is being transmitted to persons within the local population.

Physician, Dr Joseph “Joey” John, disclosed last week that a number of guests and staff at the resort had to be isolated after testing positive. The government then confirmed yesterday that 31 employees had shown positive results, after all 500 employees there were tested.

Health officials are said to be doing contact tracing, to determine “if any employee may have infected family members and others with whom they came into contact”, while the resort has reportedly stepped up the enforcement of its safety protocols.

Now, despite the rise in infections over the past week and subsequent queries on the matter, the government says it has not yet decided to make any adjustments to the nightly curfew.

As a result, the current 11pm to 5am curfew will remain.

However, this position could be changed at a moment’s notice, according to Information Minister, Melford Nicholas.

“We have maintained status quo at this stage, but it is a matter that will come up for review if the numbers [increase] to a level where we feel it’s necessary to break up any further spread of Covid in the communities,” he said.

Though the curfew remains unchanged, the government has moved to improve the freedoms of fully vaccinated travellers even further.

While these travellers were already allowed to move on from the airport without the need for quarantine, the policy position that required them to utilise the taxi services at the VC Bird International Airport – like all other incoming travellers – has been revised, to allow them to utilise private methods of transportation.

The unvaccinated will still have to utilise the taxi service, to reduce the risk of transmission.

These developments are no doubt an expression of confidence from the government in the effectiveness of the vaccines and the capacity of the health authorities to effectively manage the crisis. Everyone will be hoping then that the rise in cases will wane, before it gets to a point where the tightening of restrictions will again come into the picture.

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