I know that Countries throughout the world have implemented curfew in order to contain and prevent the spread of COVID 19. Our Government has extended the curfew until May 4th 2020. The table below depicts the situation globally, the Turks and Caicos and our closest neighbours.
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As a result of this extension, businesses will close except those providing essential services. I agree that one of the most important requirements for any nation is the health of its citizens. However given that essential services providers remain open, residents continue to expose themselves to this virus. We continue to go out and are not practicing social distancing or even wearing masks. In an article on Business insider, an expert by the name of Professor Hugh Montgomery, demonstrated how one person can infect 59,000 people. The expert stated that this is possible if one person transmits the virus to 3 people and those three people transmit to another three persons, we can end up with 59,000 people being infected after ten cycles of this chain.
I believe that the Government should make it mandatory that everyone gets tested. Of course, we will face the issue of illegals as they perhaps will not come for testing but we need to know the status of our residents otherwise we will continue to extend the curfew.
Order at least 80,000 test kits and test everyone
The Cayman Islands ordered 200,000 COVID test kits from a supplier in South Korea. Apparently that was the minimum requirement in order to fulfil the order. Barbados has reached out to Cayman for 20,000. I believe our country too has to order at least 80,000 kits. According to the 2012 census, the Turks and Caicos population is 31,458. Of course the population has grown since then along with illegals. Let’s say that perhaps our population is around 40,000 and to be on the safe side, let’s get 2 kits for each person therefore this is how I came up with 80,000. I believe we should reach out to Cayman to place an order with them. If Cayman cannot accommodate the entire 80,000 then all of the overseas territories and other Caribbean countries should collaborate and place a joint order for testing kits.
Once the kits arrive on island, necessary arrangements must be in place so that all residents are tested. Once residents are tested negative, they should remain home so they do not come in contact with anyone. Those that are tested positive will have to be in quarantine and away from others.
People are not staying home
Even though we may test everyone, the risk is that people are not staying home and as result may catch the virus even after they get tested. Therefore, it is important for all of us to stay home.
The COVID 19 virus is transferred among people through coughing and sneezing. It is therefore recommended that when you go out, to stay 6ft apart from other individuals. However, staying away 6ft apart does not mean that you are free from getting the virus because when an individual coughs or sneezes, the viral particles may dissipate in the air. It can remain in the air for a while and then transmitted to someone.
Therefore, it is important that we stay home so that we cannot catch this virus. By going out, you increase the chance of getting the virus and when you get the virus, you impact many others.
Essential services should offer online, call in and delivery services.
Despite the plea to get everyone tested, individuals can still expose themselves when they go shop at these essential service providers. Essential services need to offer products to their customers by a phone call, online or delivery. While this may be a challenge for gas stations, it is possible with the pharmacies and grocery stores. If the essential services provider is unable to facilitate online, then they can have people call in with their debit card. Prepare the order inside and have it ready for the individuals. They can further offer delivery services or use one of our existing delivery companies to collect and distribute. In this way, we will avoid people getting in contact with so many people at these essential services. For those of you that continue to go the banks, enroll in the online banking.
The extension of this curfew was inevitable. However, the curfew will going to be extended if we continue to go out exposing ourselves to this virus. If we continue to give extensions, we will continue to have other issues such as the inability to pay employees and the employees and employers’ inability to take care of their obligations.
Finally, while I support the extension of this curfew, I cannot end this article without saying there is no provision in place for employers outside of the hospitality industry to compensate their staff. Therefore, I think the Government needs to come back to us with additional changes in the stimulus package.