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TCI Restrictions Relaxed, Residents ‘thumbs up’ the changes

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#TurksandCaicos, July 6, 2021 – The 28-day COVID 19 positivity rate for the Turks and Caicos Islands was .03 per cent, up to June 28, 2021 and the surging popularity of the destination and the encumbrances created by the now former raft of restrictions have led to the softening of public health regulations since July 1st according to E Jay Saunders, the Minister of Health and Deputy Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands. 

During a June 28 press conference, Hon Saunders gave a run-down of recent cabinet meetings but for those watching live via social media, the keenest interest was in whether the public health milestones and approaching expiry date of restrictions would work to see a ‘change’, given the impressive data amidst the ongoing pandemic.

And change they did.

There were over 200 comments and many of them approving of the judgement call of the Cabinet; though restrictions are not completely lifted, to give businesses the green light to open later, curfew is shorted to four hours each night and capacities are more than doubled for events and boaters.  As close to pre-pandemic living the Turks and Caicos has er been in seven months.

Curfew, as of July 1 is 1 a.m.; businesses can remain open until 12 midnight; churches, weddings, funerals, restaurants, outdoor bars and pleasure boats can now take 70 per cent of capacity and people can now sit around bar counters but are encouraged to keep the closeness limited to their pax.

Additionally, 50 per cent capacity indoors at bars is as of July 1st and in the new regulations, functions like concerts or larger scale events of 100 people or more, require the host apply to the Environmental Health Department for approval. 

Deputy Premier Saunders also said the agreement to change the public health protocols is hinged on trust.  He beckoned to residents to end the illegal villa parties and to manage the coming changes responsibly.

The former restrictions expired on June 30.  It is still required for people to socially distance, sanitise and wear face coverings.

Health

Over 5000 COVID cases on Cruises, CDC investigations launched

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#January 15, 2022 – Cruises have continued across the Americas despite the US Centers for Disease Control dire warning that even vaccinated individuals should be wary of them. Now the CDC informs that Coronavirus cases have been reported on every cruise ship sailing with passengers in U.S. waters.

According to the CDC, all 92 ships with passengers have met the threshold for investigation by the public health agency. In every case, the CDC has either started an investigation or has investigated.

Surges in Covid-19 on land have led to spikes on the high seas, revealed that update on Tuesday. Cases have rocketed from 162 in early December to 5,013 up to December 29th.

The CDC warned travellers including those who are vaccinated to avoid cruising in December, following the announcement videos surfaced of jam-packed cruise ships with unmasked passengers ringing in the New Year.

Meanwhile, Grand Turk is still welcoming cruise ships.  Eleven cruise ships are scheduled to dock at the Grand Turk Cruise Center throughout January, according to the port schedule.

Jamell Robinson, TCI Minister of Health has confirmed that ships have been allowed to dock in Grand Turk with positive COVID cases on board.

He said. “Now in each ship there are stations or places for isolation on board…Just because a vessel has people with Covid-19 on it doesn’t necessarily mean we wouldn’t allow them to disembark.”

The minister explained the number of positive cases recorded on cruise ships that had arrived in Grand Turk was .001 per cent of all guests and they were not allowed to disembark.

So far, Turks and Caicos has turned away at least one cruise liner due to fears of COVID exposure in the capital, which has gone from a handful of active cases to now 111, as of January 14.

The US Centers for Disease Control reported on Tuesday that COVID-19 cases on cruise ships have increased to 30 times what they were in mid-December.

 

 

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New York, US Epicenter for Omicron “turning the corner”

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#USA, January 15, 2022 – Today, New York is seeing a downward trend in Covid-19 cases, as officials revealed, “we are turning the corner” on Friday in updating on the state of affairs in the city, labelled the epicenter of omicron for the United States.

Before, data from the New York State Department of Health showed that the number of new coronavirus infections per 100,000 vaccinated residents in the State, rose from 29.8 in the first week of December to 222.3 last week.  Also, the rate of new cases in unvaccinated adults rose from 239.6 to 1,583.1 per 100,000.

New York is a key source market for the Turks and Caicos and much of the Caribbean, which is heavily reliant upon winter travellers.  The data showed, too, that vaccine effectiveness against severe infection remained high.

Only 4.59 fully vaccinated adults out of 100,000 were hospitalised with COVID-19 in the week of December 27.  However, that number increased, and the hospitalisation rate for the unvaccinated is nearly 13 times higher.

New York’s rolling positivity rate fell below 20% in recent days, but media reports indicate the death toll in the State hit a startling high of 195 for the first time since the mass vaccination rollout.

 

 

 

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Lockdown time party plaguing UK Prime Minister; requests for resignation

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#UnitedKingdom, January 15, 2022 – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being urged to resign after finally admitting that he did indeed attend a garden party on Downing Street while citizens of the United Kingdom were in lockdown.  It is an admission that he broke his own lockdown rules.

Johnson said he thought it was a ‘work event’ and has apologized for his involvement. He acknowledged that there were citizens who felt rage towards him at his carelessness.

Rage, however strong may still be an understatement, at least for his political opponents.

Opposition Labour Party leader Kier Starmer dismissed Johnson’s excuse that he did not realise the event was a party saying “[It is] so ridiculous that it is actually offensive to the British public.”

This latest issue comes as a slew of different scandals rock the Conservative party amid concerns about Boris Johnson’s ability to lead the UK.

Weeks ago, after another party in the lockdown scandal surfaced, Johnson suffered a massive defeat at the hands of Liberal Democrat Helen Morgan in a constituency that the party had never lost before.

Morgan said, “The country is crying out for a leader, Boris Johnson has proved that he is no leader.”

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