Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Hon. E. Jay Saunders is assuring the country that panicking is not an option as the Turks and Caicos Islands sees it's recently zero daily infection rate transform into daily infectivity.
Just before the July 4th weekend, the Turks and Caicos Islands Government further opened the economy by extending the curfew period from between 10 pm to 6 am to between 12 midnight to 6 am.
The curfew easement triggered the staging of numerous late-night parties, which the government credits for the most recent rise in the COVID-19 infection rate. Among the infected were tourists to the country.
As of Sunday, July 18, the country recorded 30 active cases, jumping by two new cases from the previous day. At the time of Saunder’s news conference two days prior, the number of active cases was 20.
However, the health minister insisted that his government would not take a kneejerk reaction approach on the matter but emphasized that if the number climbs to 50 and above, drastic measures might be taken.
“Are we panicking? No, we are not panicking. We are monitoring the situation. And I can certainly say this, at 20, we are not going to panic. I believe it would probably get up to 30, because we know that there were those clusters of days that everybody went to parties on the 4th of July Weekend, and we believe that there was going to be some new cases there,” he said.
“I believe we would get to a high as 30…we don’t want it to get there. But if it starts to get to 50, to 100, then we know we have a problem, and then we would have to start to look at how we will deal with it.”
The health minister pointed out that one of the reasons government would not at this time revisit the curfew easement has to do with the consideration that he wants government and the populace to engage in a mutually beneficial COVID-19 commitment.
“The reason why we are not going to change it (curfew hours) is because I need you to work with us, so we can get through this, and we can get things done. I believe that we can work together as partners, and that’s the reason why we are not making any changes to the curfew,” Saunders said, while insisting that government would only change its mind if the cases continue to see a steady rise.
“Now, if we start to see ourselves getting to the 30 positive cases at any one time…the daily cases are continuing to go up; every day we are getting four new cases, five new cases, 10 new cases; we starting to get 50 positive cases at any one time, then we will have to start to look at rolling back the curfew.
“We are going to be focused, and we are not going to go back and forth. So, for those of you who are wondering what’s going to happen, we are not going to roll back the curfew.
“I am not standing here today and say we are changing the curfew. We are not going to change the protocols; we are not going to change the requirement. I don’t want to do it, but certainly, if we wake up one morning and find that we have 100 positive cases, then we have to do something,” Saunders contended.