The COVID-19 pandemic is a national emergency that threatens the health and wellbeing of every individual, every community, every business, club, and society on the island. As long as the virus is allowed to circulate in our communities, the threat to our lives and our livelihoods will remain, so this period of emergency will only end when we have either eliminated the virus or achieved herd immunity through vaccination.
Until then, the public health must come first in every decision we make. That means our policies must ensure that the people’s health is protected at all times, and it is only when we have met this requirement that we can turn to other aspects of our policy response, and their wider implications for society.
Prioritising the public health will naturally place restrictions on the people and on their movements and interactions. We do not take these decisions lightly and we will make every possible effort to lighten the load, as we believe it is our obligation to do so. However, the policies must be strict and adherence high so that we can be confident our measures are having the intended effects, and so that they will be in place for the shortest time possible. It is only when the risk to the public health has been eliminated, that our lives can return to normal.