Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony today defended the government’s move over the weekend to amend Section 17 of Covid-19 Health regulations, which now makes it a requirement for persons to prove vaccination against COVID-19 or produce a negative COVID-19 PCR test in order to gain entry to any public building including private ones and businesses.
The Health Minister said the move is a necessary one to keep the country safe.
The move has been widely criticized with the Opposition labeling the new measures as authoritative. The Health Minister does not agree.
“It is one way of ensuring that the environment and the public are much safer, because if you have vaccinated people, you will have a much safer environment when we visit those places,” the Minister said.
The updated regulations now mean that persons who want to visit the markets and supermarkets, stores, private hospitals, banks, utility companies, and all other private businesses and institutions including places of worship would now have to be vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result.
Some commercial banks and other businesses have already signaled their intention to abide by the new guidelines.
“It’s not only for the people who are accessing the service, but it is also for the people who are working there. Because we have to create a safe environment if we are going to push back against the covid-19 disease,” the Minister further noted.
The government has already found itself in a Court battle with several workers’ unions challenging the measures about government buildings.
But the Health Minister is adamant that the new measures are in order since in his view the country has been recording a high number of daily Covid cases and has seen an increase in hospitalizations. He believes the vaccination of citizens should be a high priority.