A police officer supervises a line of shoppers outside RAMS supermarket along the Bay Road in Basseterre in April 2020 (Spokesman Snap)

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 29th January 2021)-Superintendent of Police Cromwell Henry says police have been seeing individuals who are not wearing their face masks in public places as is required by law and is therefore warning that penalties still exist in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This matter was addressed during the superintendent’s presentation at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) COVID-19 Briefing on Wednesday 27th January 2021.

“We are seeing complacency in our people particularly when attending public events and the wearing of face masks. I want to remind the wearing of face masks is still the most effective means to prevent the spread of the virus. Persons are being observed not wearing their face masks in public places, particularly in stores, business places and on public transport,” he stated.

Superintendent Cromwell continued: “We want to remind you that provisions of the COVID-19 Act of 2020 which require persons to wear face masks when in public is still in effect. Penalties are still in effect and so we remind, we ask, we beseech persons to comply with this particular provision to always wear your face mask when you are in public spaces especially when you are in the company of other persons.”
Such penalties could see a $500 ticket, court fine up to $5000 or imprisonment according to the regulations put in place.

There are, however, some exceptions for those person who have underlying conditions and the exception in regulation 15 (2) that ‘A person shall not be required to wear a mask if he or she is under the age of three years old, he or she suffers with a disability, cognitive impairment, dementia, asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease or other similar health conditions, if he or she is within a private space including a private vehicle.’

Meanwhile, as it relates to the latest information provided in the NEOC Situation Report relative to St.Kitts-Nevis on that day of the NEOC briefing, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws said there are currently two active cases.

To date, there has been a total of 37 cases with 25 on St.Kitts and 12 on Nevis, and zero deaths.

Referring to a media release issued the day before, Dr. Laws said the two additional imported cases are international travellers into the Federation who were found to be COVID positive.

She informed that over 7543 persons have been tested altogether so far.
According to the CMO, “We have a very low positivity rate of about .5%.”
She said another batch of students from the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine were repatriated that afternoon with approximately 132 students on a charter from Miami and approximately 15 on the charter flight from Puerto Rico.

Dr. Laws reported that the bulk of the students are in quarantine at the school’s dorms on the campus and about 25 at the Koi Resort.