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The National Palace in Santo DomingoPhoto by Gary Blakeley/Shutterstock

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (LifeSiteNews) — The Dominican Republic last week became the first Caribbean country to drop all its COVID-19 mandates and restrictions in what the nation’s president has called a “recovery of freedom.”

“I am announcing that as of today all the restrictive measures imposed by COVID-19 are suspended,” Dominican President Luis Abinader said Wednesday in a short video message, Diario Libre reported.

According to Abinader, the country both “needs” and “deserves” to “leave behind the measures that we had to impose for a time that is already past. From now on, we will all have to take care of ourselves, responsibly, but without restrictions.”

“The country can also be sure that, unlike in the past, our health system is today prepared to deal with any eventuality. It is time to recover our freedom once and for all,” he continued. “And that hour, my dear people, begins today.”

The reversal of pandemic measures took effect at 8:00 p.m. on February 16. The 11 million residents of the island nation, which shares a border with Haiti, are now no longer required to wear masks in public spaces or present proof of inoculation against the coronavirus to work or shop.

The Dominican government has attributed the decision to remove mandates and restrictions to high vaccine uptake by Dominican citizens, despite the fact that the country failed to meet its 70% vaccination goal. 

The Caribbean nation’s move to eliminate remaining restrictions comes amid a wave of similar actions by governments around the world. 

The United Kingdom, Israel, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, and France, among others, have recently announced they are scrapping many or at least some of their heavy-handed COVID restrictions.

The abrupt removal of totalitarian public health dictates has left many wondering whether the restrictions will be eliminated for good. Some countries, including Israel, in the past have removed COVID mandates only to re-apply them later on.

Many fear that despite the removal of COVID jab mandates and other measures, systems created during the pandemic remain which enable governments to track, trace, and digitally identify citizens, creating a global “checkpoint society” under the guise of public safety.