Health Minister did not advise lockdown for Orealla/Siparuta


While the indigenous villages of Orealla and Siparuta in Region Six have proceeded on a two-week lockdown in an effort to control an outbreak of COVID-19, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony continues to maintain that the lockdown is not necessary at this time.

“We did not require them to lockdown the area. We did not advise them of a need to do a lockdown [but] I guess they have that right as a Village Council to make those decisions,” the Health Minister said in his daily COVID-19 update on Friday.

Dr Anthony noted that a medical team will remain in the communities to continue monitoring the situation and to conduct further testing. Both Orealla and Siparuta have recorded over 53 positive cases.

Most of the residents are in home isolation.

Prior to the lockdown, the Village Council attempted to restrict movement between Siparuta and Orealla, after Siparuta first recorded 16 positive cases on November 21. Siparuta has also recorded two COVID-19 related deaths – an 87-year-old man who died while receiving treatment at a medical facility on Tuesday last and the first patient, an 89-year-old man, who died on November 21 at the Skeldon Hospital. To date, Region Six has recorded a total of six COVID-19 deaths.

The communities have a population of about 2,400 residents. During the lockdown, the council will provide each household with a hamper consisting of basic food supplies; the council hopes that agencies like the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) will also provide assistance.

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