National Security Minister Stuart Young has stood by his call to encourage the public to stay at home and avoid venturing outdoors for any non-essential activities.
He spoke to Newsday on Sunday in response to the suggestions reportedly made by Police Commissioner Gary Griffith that people could exercise outdoors in pairs.
Young said the government’s earlier call for people to stay at home as of Monday morning still stands.
“This is the Government’s policy and advice to the population.
“The virus is spread by contact. The Government has asked people to stay at home,” Young said via WhatsApp. Citing a media release from the Ministry of National Security on Saturday, Young reiterated the need for the public to avoid contact where possible.
“The government is requesting that persons do not engage in exercise outside their homes in public spaces.
“The medical experts have advised that persons exercising outside their homes in public spaces carry and increase the risk of spreading covid19.”
As of midnight on Sunday, the government has restricted non-essential activities.
On Saturday, Griffith, during a walkabout at the Chaguanas market, told reporters that joggers or walkers can exercise outdoors in pairs. Speaking with Newsday on Sunday, Griffith said his remarks on outdoor exercise needed clarification.
He and the police would uphold the government’s request for people to stay indoors, there was no law that could stop joggers.
“Our job is to enforce the laws. Since this situation with covid19, the only new laws that we will enforce is to ensure people will not assemble in groups of ten or more, and that non-business essentials as of tonight (Sunday) cannot be opened. Nothing more, nothing less.
“However, there are several other activities the Prime Minister and the National Security Minister have asked for... other people to consider. A request is not a law. So if the National Security Minister makes a request, that is not a law. What they have been doing is asking people what they should not do.
There is a difference between what people should not do and what they cannot do.”
Griffith also said while the police would be out in full force to deter gathering of people in groups of ten or more, the public’s constitutional rights would not be infringed, even under the new regulations.
At a media conference on Friday, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said according to the updated version of the Public Health Ordinance, people can exercise in public once the group is not more than ten.