SECRETARY to the Prime Minister Dr. Jimmie Rodgers says the State of Public Emergency (SOPE) allows the country to be on high alert.
Dr. Rogers highlighted this during the COVID-19 Oversight Committee weekly talkback show on Sunday via the national broadcaster in response to whether the SOPE will be extended or not.
“One of the key things that happen in this SOPE is that it allows the country to be on a high level of alert.
“It means although we did not have the virus in the country, we are in a situation whereby, if and when the risk is there, the country is prime to go into action immediately
“That’s what the SOPE is doing.
“This is why our businesses initially were closed.”
However, he said, business houses in emergency zone will soon resume their services.
“By next month we are optimistic every single business in emergency zone will be fully operational.
“One thing that is very important for us to know is that whilst we want to end the SOPE, COVID-19 has not ended.
“Just to give you updates, the last six days has been the highest ever global epidemic.
“For the last six days, the numbers have been more than 120, 000 new infections every day.”
He further stated, though SI is COVID-19 free country, most of the people that are yet to be repatriated are living in countries that the virus is accelerating.
“Therefore it’s very important for us not to go into complacency.
“That’s why the SOPE is the only provision that allows our people coming back to be kept in quarantine and to be tested according to our protocol and if they fulfill it they can be released.
“Just imagine if we don’t have the SOPE, everyone coming back from overseas will go straight to their homes.
“Is that what we want or not?
“That’s the main question we are going to look into.
“So the Oversight Committee is looking into other options on which we are going to do.
“But at this point in time SOPE gave us this tool.”
Dr. Rodgers further highlighted that without SOPE and once it’s lifted from July 25th anyone coming back from overseas will go straight to their houses which will pose risk to the country.
“That’s something we want to prevent,” he expressed.
“So that’s the brief explanation that the decision has not yet be made but the Oversight Committee will look into all options including, are there regulations existing that can be amended to give us the same capability or not.
“And so the Oversight Committee will come up with what is in its view the best approach for our country to recommend it to Cabinet.
“Cabinet will make the final decision.
“So that’s the brief update on the SOPE,” he concluded.
By CROFTON UTUKANA