On Saturday, the government declared a State of Emergency in Trinidad and Tobago and used those powers to introduce a 9pm-5am curfew.
From an obviously frustrated PM, it was an amplification of his schoolmasterly warnings the week before, the carrot replaced by the stick.
The Government's efforts to coerce the population into appropriate behaviour haven't worked and the SoE is a grim warning of how dire things are and how much worse things seem likely to get.
The SoE is a major step and the government needs to be very clear about how it will implement these emergency powers, and it must do so quickly.
The incremental roll-out of new public health regulations, created their own regime of confusion and led to challenges, both from the public and from legal minds over what powers the police had and didn't have.
People tried to squeeze between the regulations, something that happened from top to bottom, as evidenced by the AG's notorious unmasked appearance on a streamed broadcast.
The current situation also reminds us that the government is still to explain adequately why offers from the private sector to buy vaccines were turned down. Those discussions ended when companies asked for a tax credit in return for their spending, but that looks like a small price to pay: the result has been disastrous, given our inadequate vaccination statistics and the resultant situation in which we find ourselves.
The most important power the government can exercise now is its capacity to communicate, lucidly and transparently, the state of affairs in our covid19 response and how each citizen is expected to meet these challenges.
There are, unquestionably, elements of wilfulness, carelessness and complacency that have led to the surge in cases – but there is also, still, simple ignorance, a gap in understanding the dangers posed by the virus.
As important as washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing are, there are other nuances in covid19 management that aren't quite so obvious.
People in home quarantine came in for a tongue-lashing on Saturday for not doing it properly, but where are the guidelines? It was news to some that isolating at home also meant isolating yourself from your own family in your own house.
And what about the many, many people who don't have the living space or facilities to do that effectively? What are they supposed to do?
Likewise, the PM's annoyance at people going to the supermarket every day doesn't acknowledge that there are people who don't have anywhere suitable to store food, or the funds to stock up for weeks.
While commands and orders continue to filter down from the top, more tangible efforts at empathy and acknowledgement of differing circumstances are needed. That would lead to clearer communication about these restrictions and in so doing, make them more likely to be understood, more willingly followed and more effective.