Grenada PM defends 24-hour curfew, confident country will weather COVID-19 pandemic

Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell Monday said he remains “confident and optimistic” that Grenada will be able to weather the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as he defended his administration’s decision to impose a 24-hour curfew on the island.

Mitchell, speaking at a news conference here, said the virus was not only a health problem but a global economic one with implications for all sectors of the global society.

Dr Keith Mitchell

“Businesses, workers, those who are already vulnerable; even the coffers of government are impacted by this crisis,” he told reporters, adding that the seven-day mandatory curfew is part of efforts to reduce community transmission of COVID-19.

Mitchell, who was accompanied by his health minister, Nicholas Steele, said the pandemic had thrown the global community into a tailspin.

“But we have to arm ourselves the best way possible to get through this crisis. The long and short of this pandemic is that the longer we take to adhere to the advice of the experts and the regulations issued by Government, it is the longer we will be in this situation,” he warned.

But, he said he remained “confident and optimistic” that Grenada can get through this medical crisis.

“We can beat COVID-19, but it requires a collective effort. The question is, are you prepared to fight for yourself, for your family, for your country.

“Each and every one of us must play our part in stemming the spread of this disease in our country. It is possible. We can do it and we will do it. We simply have to work together on that single objective,” he told reporters.

Last week, the government announced that the island would be placed under a limited state of emergency including a 10-hour curfew starting at 7:00 PM local time.

But on Sunday, Steele said that the authorities had decided to increase the hours of the curfew from Monday as Mitchell criticised persons who refused to adhere to the earlier measures announced.

“It has, therefore, become imperative that we escalate the measures we have taken to safeguard the citizens of this country,” the prime minister said, with Steele warning that if citizens continue to disregard the regulations of the Emergency Powers Act, the curfew measures will continue past the seven days.