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Large gatherings particularly risky at this time – CMO

Large gatherings particularly risky at this time – CMO


Vincentians have been asked to avoid large gatherings such as church services, funerals and parties, in an effort to practice social distancing.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Simone Keizer-Beache on Sunday said as yet, we still have one confirmed case of Covid-19 in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), and we want to use this time to ensure that we keep that figure as close as possible to one.

Speaking on the ‘Issue at Hand’ programme on We FM, Keizer-Beache said the likelihood of another imported case remains, as some Vincentians have returned home from overseas, even as flights to the country are decreasing as a result of restrictions imposed outside of SVG.

The CMO said as a people, we like to group together, but at this time, that inclination is particularly risky.

She said she would therefore like to recommend that we start thinking and practicing social distancing.

“Today we have church, and we are asking leaders and the congregations to begin thinking about, and even practicing, where they would minimize the number of persons who would come to any particular service.”

The CMO recommended that attendance at church services be limited to 30 per cent of the capacity of the building. “…If you can hold 100 people in your church, we are asking that maybe just 30 people might turn out… or if we could move more towards praying from home, smaller groups, and even when you do meet, you maintain that at least three feet distance from each other…. We want to decrease the risk of transmission.”

“The leaders have responsibilities and the members have a responsibility too,” Keizer-Beache said.

It has also been suggested that attendance at funeral services be limited to close relatives only, the CMO said.

“We are working with funeral homes in trying to support them, also for protecting their employees.”

She recommended that the funeral homes, church leaders and relatives of the bereaved work together.

Keizer-Beache called on the public to take responsibility for their own safety and added, “maybe now is not the best time to have a big fete or a mass party, because we really want to keep Vincentians, keep each other safe… and by decreasing the amount of mingling, that is going to help us.”