Statement on the Current Covid-19 Situation

His Excellency Charles A. Savarin, D.A.H., President of The Commonwealth of DominicaStatement By His Excellency Charles A. Savarin, D.A.H., President of The Commonwealth of Dominica, on the Current Covid-19 Situation

Tuesday, 7th April 2020

My Fellow Dominicans and Residents,
We live in a world where new challenges that seek to threaten our very survival continue to emerge on a regular basis. Foremost to mind is the recent outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) detected here in our island and throughout the Caribbean and indeed worldwide.

The Honourable Minister and the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investments, and all relevant government services, have been working tirelessly for months to prevent, and if not limit, the spread of this deadly contagion on the island. The first positive case of the virus was detected on the 22nd of March 2020. To date April 7, there have been 15 positive cases. On the 1st of April 2020, acting in accordance with the provisions of Section 17 (3) of the Constitution and Section 5 of the Emergency Powers (Disaster) Act, Chapter 15:03, I issued a Proclamation declaring a State of Emergency. The declaration of the State of Emergency and the Regulations promulgated as a result, including the imposition of a curfew, are for the protection of the people as it has been established that person to person contact or contact with contaminated surfaces, are the principal modes of transmission.

On Monday the 6th of April 2020, the House of Assembly met in emergency session to extend the State of Emergency to 3 months and the Curfew Order by an additional 21 days. I am particularly pleased that both sides of the House of Assembly gave their support to the motion for the extension of the Proclamation and the Curfew Order issued as a result. This unanimous vote in favour by the Members of the House signals the severity of the challenge confronting us as a people and a nation.

The difference between this emergency situation and the very many other challenges we have faced over the years, be they man made or natural, is that when the State and the health officials have done all that is required of them; provided all of the facilities and supplies, established all of the regulations and protocols, in the final analysis, the control of the spread of the coronavirus in Dominica lies with us as individuals.

It is therefore important that each and every one of us observes the social distancing of 6 feet or 2 meters that is recommended by our health authorities, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). There is no substitute – it is a preventative and precautionary measure. We do not have to second guess who is affected and who is not, because we may have an infected person who may show no symptoms whatsoever, and yet he or she may pass on the virus by personal contact. We must similarly observe all the personal hygiene recommendations regarding hand sanitizing, sneezing and coughing etiquette, and the wearing of masks in public. This is a call, an appeal if you will, for us to stay at home if we do not have compelling reasons to be outside, and to observe strictly the curfew period.

All of us in positions of leadership and influence must add our voices to this national call to take action to fight and defeat this virus which threatens all of us; to empathize with those who have tested positive, as well as all those in quarantine; and to recognize all those on the frontline of this fight: the doctors, the nurses, the fire officers, the police officers, the health care workers in our hospitals and in the districts, at the COVID-19 facility and all quarantine facilities, the caregivers to the elderly and the shut-ins. All of these persons must be encouraged and recognized and held up in our prayers.

I thank you and ask Almighty God to bless and protect all of us as we combat this global pandemic.

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