At one of his COVID-19 press briefings, Health Minister Dr. Irving McIntyre
At one of his COVID-19 press briefings, Health Minister Dr. Irving McIntyre

Without an active case for more than forty-eight days, Dominica on Saturday continued the relaxation of measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, the cause of death and illness around the world.

Regulations controlling the opening of businesses and the curtailment of movement of the general public have been lifted a little from May 25, 2020.

Curfew hours, from Monday to Friday, have been reduced to 8.00 pm to 5.00 am, announced Health Minister Dr. Irving Mc Intyre in an address to the nation on Saturday evening.

Dr. Mc Intyre also announced that the weekend curfew hours are now in effect from 6.00 pm to 5.00 am.

Businesses are also allowed a few hours more to stay open-up to six o' clock- from Monday to Friday and to 3.00 pm on Saturdays.

There were additional modifications to the COVID-19 protocols.

"It is recommended that buses allow no more than three persons per row," Dr. McIntyre said.

So, what about churches, gyms and restaurants?

"Discussion with these stakeholders are ongoing and will continue this coming week to develop guidelines and protocols with the hope of re-opening next weekend," Dr. McIntyre said.

What about the opening of the Douglas-Charles Airport and the ferry terminal?

Discussion on the opening of the borders is ongoing regionally and locally as well, Dr. McIntyre said.

And what about schools?

Details will be provided by the Ministry of Education, Dr. McIntyre said, reading from a prepared statement.

Like every country in the world, Dominica has been grappling with the extremely contagious and sometimes deadly coronavirus.

As of Sunday May 24, 2020 there were 21,967 cases in the Caribbean; worldwide there were 5.31million cases and 342,000 deaths.

For more than one month, Dominica has officially recorded 16 cases of the virus. All have recovered.

"This is obviously good news for all of us," said Dr. McIntyre. "Having said this we must not lose focus and become complacent."

Dr. McIntyre continued: "We are aware that approximately one third of the cases may be asymptomatic but fully capable of spreading the virus.

"The key to containing transmissions remains tracking, tracing, testing and isolation. That is until a vaccine can be developed which in the most optimistic circumstances will not be within one year."

Dr. McIntyre acknowledged that the relaxing of these measures, and allowing nationals to return home, are risky and may take the country back to square one.

"We have to limit that risk as much as possible", said Dr. McIntyre adding that returning Dominicans will be quarantined on their arrival at the Government quarantine facility in Portsmouth for 14 days.

"On completion of this quarantine these persons will be further discharged to home quarantine and monitored by the district health team," he sai