COVID19 alert level system may be reviewed

The Interim Chairman of the National Emergency Operations Centre (N.E.O.C.), Agafili Shem Leo, says they may review the Alert Level system in the future.

Last week the country moved into a new Alert Level system to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

After ostensibly being in Level 0, the country shifted to Level 1 when two men tested positive for COVID-19 in quarantine.

Level 1, or ‘yellow’, is triggered when there are one to six confirmed COVID-19 cases in managed isolated, and is considered low risk.

Both men were later confirmed to not be infectious because their positive test picked up their old infection they both recovered from. They have both been released from quarantine in the hospital.

But Agafili is not ready to shift back down the Alert system, saying that with around 400 passengers now in quarantine the country still needs to be vigilant to the possibility a case slipped through the border.

“If anything pops up the country is still in this level,” he said. After their 14 day quarantine period is over (the last quarantine period will end Wednesday 23 December) the N.E.O.C. will reconsider the Alert Levels.

“There may be some consideration of a number of orders that are still active right now but that rests with the Prime Minister and Cabinet.”

Under Level 1, various actions include encouraged (but not mandatory) mask wearing in public and physical distancing, frontline staff will be tested periodically and people leaving isolation are asked to stay home an extra seven days.

The brief issued last week that explained the level also states that under Level 1 state of emergency restrictions are in place, but that they are not under Level 0.

Level 0 is for when there are no cases, like there are today.

Asked whether the Alert Levels will be rewritten to better reflect what the N.E.O.C. wants to ask of the public, Agafili said the rules are not permanent.

“It’s a consideration that is valid for the committee. These things are not engraved in stones. It’s a policy framework that has been established by the committee to better respond to the situation at hand,” he explained.

“There may be considerations this week but that is up to Cabinet, on the relooking, rearranging and reviewing some of the S.O.E. orders. If there are any changes we will inform the public.”

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