‘People had a long time to get themselves in order’ – Health Minister on new COVID guidelines

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The updated COVID-19 Emergency Measures took effect from Monday, November 1 and Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony says that no exemptions to enter public buildings will be granted to people awaiting their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

During his daily COVID-19 update on Monday, the Health Minister said that the data collected by the Health Ministry has shown that a number of people have collected their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but they have not returned for the second. This, Dr. Anthony said, is not good since both doses are needed to give people a greater level of protection from the deadly disease.

And, as such, he called on people to return to the vaccination sites for the second doses of the vaccines. He assured them that there are adequate second doses available for people who were vaccinated with the Sputnik V, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Pfizer vaccines.

It is important to note that only fully vaccinated people will be allowed to enter public buildings (and private buildings that they have lawful access to). Otherwise, the new measures state that unvaccinated people or those who are only partially vaccinated will be required to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test result.

For context, an individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the full vaccine regimen.

When asked if exemptions would be granted to those people who are yet to receive their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, Dr. Anthony said: “I think people had a long time to get themselves in order.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony was also asked about whether the local health authorities are concerned that the reduction in the curfew hours will lead to an increase in COVID-19 infections.

He answered: “The increase in cases will depend on people’s attitudes and I think we’ve had more than a year and a half where people get to understand the disease and the precautions they need to take.”

These precautions include wearing masks, maintaining a social distance, constant sanitisation and vaccination.

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