Mask mandate to be strictly enforced amid spike in COVID cases – Health Minister

With the continuous surge in COVID-19 cases, the Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, M.P., said the police and joint services must strictly enforce the mandate of mask wearing.

Minister Anthony, during Thursday’s COVID-19 update, reminded the public that persons refusing to wear masks are committing an offence and can be charged.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony.

“I’m sure that the police and the joint services, through Operation CoviCurb would be able to enforce some of this (mask wearing), and I guess in the height of all of this surge in cases, we would probably have to make some people an example,” he said.

The health minister said his ministry has since issued N95 masks to all health care facilities across the country to better protect frontline workers.

masks wearing is important in preventing the spread of COVID-19

He is recommending that persons at high risk of contracting the virus wear surgical or N95 masks, as the cloth masks are not as effective against the Omicron variant.

“The Ministry has taken a policy decision and we have issued N95 masks to all the regions across the country and it’s intended for use in all of our health care facility.

We have enough and we have been encouraging the use of these masks across the country and I hope that the health care personnel abide by this.”

Minister Anthony further stated that mask wearing is the social responsibility of the general public to protect themselves and to prevent the spread of the virus.

sign for persons to wear masks

“Masks wearing is very important to prevent the transmission especially of this contagious and highly transmissible variant that we are now having in circulation, so persons need to understand that this has to do with social responsibility, you are not living in an isolated place, you’re living amongst people and we have to protect each other,” Minister Anthony stated.

The ministry has recorded within the last 24 hours, 967 new cases, taking the current active cases to 3, 481.

Minister Anthony confirmed that 70 persons are currently hospitalised across the country, with 38 at the Ocean View Hospital and six in the Intensive Care Unit.