By Caribbean News Global contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia – On Tuesday January 12, 2021, the ministry of health (MOH) said it received confirmation of 12 new cases of COVID-19, this brings the total number of cases diagnosed in the country to date to 490: followed by January 13, 2021, confirmation of another 12 new cases of COVID-19, and the island sixth COVID-19 related death.
MOH reports that the country’s sixth COVID-19 related death, is a 52-year-old male, a national of the United Kingdom. He arrived in Saint Lucia on December 30, 2020, and died on January 9, 2021, and was not in care at the time of his passing. The total number of COVID-19 cases to date is 502, with 177 active cases, all being stable and none requiring critical care.
The MOH communication has not provided critical information concerning Saint Lucia’s sixth COVID-19 related death and the circumstances … of “ not in care at the time of his passing”.
Could a second COVID-19 test save a life?
The government of Saint Lucia continues to express strong objection to implementing a COVID-19 test, 3-4 days into a visitor /returning nationals on the island – numbskull at the magnitude of coronavirus in the UK and the new variant. Now, the risk has certainly magnified with the a surge in COVID-19 and the death of a national of the United Kingdom. Investigations are said to be “on-going” to determine the possible existence of epidemiological links.
Mandatory pre-departure testing for all international arrivals to England will come into effect worldwide from January 15, 2021, including for passengers departing from Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines. A limited exemption has been granted until January 21, 0400 GMT, for arrivals from Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Lucia, to help Britons in these countries return home. In-bound passengers to England will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than 3 days before departure.
Canada introduced pre-departure and entry COVID-19 negative results for all air travellers effective January 7, 2021. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has expressed deep frustration with Canada’s new COVID-19 testing requirement for all arriving air travelers due to come into effect as of January 7, 2021. The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the 33 National Hotel and Tourism Associations throughout the region, which are part of our Federation, announced Monday that they requested reconsideration of the government of Canada.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it is expanded the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to all air passengers entering the United States: This order was signed by the CDC director on January 12, 2021, and will become effective on January 26, 2021.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has Saint Lucia listed at Level 3: COVID-19 High. The risk is real and in plain sight, except for the government of Saint Lucia, the island remains a pandemic tourism haven cultivating new distinction as the quarantine island of the Caribbean, with minimal capacity and recourse to medical emergency.
Albeit, assistance by the French government, Cuba, Taiwan, Mexico, NGO’s, etc., The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) continues to assist with six ventilators to Saint Lucia’s COVID-19 response.
“The ventilators will significantly improve Saint Lucia’s capacity to treat critical patients with respiratory problems,” the MOH said in a statement. “To date, PAHO has donated personal protective equipment, oxygen concentrators, laboratory supplies and other hospital accessories, and has also funded the training of human resource personnel as the government responds to the pandemic.”
The government of Saint Lucia is perhaps coming to grips with the economic and health impact of COVID-19 to admit Saint Lucia anticipates tourism decline. Moreover, in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), placed significant strain on Saint Lucia’s economy, with real GDP projected to decline by 16.9 percent in 2020, is beginning to impact the ‘ratings of Company’s monopoly position’.
Conferring, the MOH, said: “COVID-19 continues to present significant financial and clinical challenges to Saint Lucia as we seek to secure the health and safety of our citizens. The government of Saint Lucia is extremely grateful to PAHO for the tremendous support being extended. PAHO’s assistance to Saint Lucia has certainly assisted in cushioning the financial burden posed by COVID-19,” adding, “the MOH … takes comfort in knowing that Saint Lucia can rely on technical guidance and further assistance as the country rallies in response to the pandemic.”