Government announces seven-day lockdown

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By Machela Osagboro

The country will start a seven-day lockdown starting one second after midnight on Thursday in a bid to halt the coronavirus spread.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced the move in an address to parliament moments ago, as part of a raft of drastic measures to help keep residents safe.

The current state of emergency will also be extended to 60 days.

The existing 8pm to 6am curfew will remain in place until it is replaced by its 24-hour counterpart.

All but non-essential workers must stay home.

The state of emergency was announced on March 25 with non-essential businesses and services prohibited from operating.

Public gatherings exceeding 25 persons were also banned. Gatherings have since been reduced to 10 after various violations, including one at a Bolans church and a party at Deep Bay beach last weekend.

The PM said only essential workers will be allowed to traverse roads during the curfew. Face masks will be provided to those who rely on public transport.

Residents are also being asked to wear masks and practice social distancing, which means keeping six feet apart.

Supermarkets will be open for limited hours.

“We have to go the extra mile to protect the population because we do not have the capacity to treat a large number of individuals,” said Browne.

Browne urged people to stay inside. Violators risk a $5,000 fine or six months in prison, or both.

The House of Representatives met to allow the Prime Minister to lay on the table the first, second and third readings of the Emergency Powers (Dangerous Infectious Disease) Bill 2020.

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