By Caribbean News Global
TORONTO, Canada – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alert – Level 2, previously recommended “that people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 postpone nonessential travel to Saint Lucia,” has revised that designation to Level 3: High Level of COVID-19 in Saint Lucia.
On Sunday, November 29, 2020, the Ministry of Health (MOH) “received confirmation of five new cases of COVID-19. This brings the total number of cases diagnosed in the country to date to 257. This brings the total number of cases currently in care to 146.”
The CDC now recommends, “Travelers should avoid all nonessential travel to Saint Lucia” and “Travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should avoid all travel to Saint Lucia.
“If you get sick with COVID-19 or test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 while abroad, you might not be permitted to return to the United States until you can end isolation. If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 during travel, you might be quarantined and not be permitted to return to the United States until 14 days after your last known exposure.”
According to a press release by the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA): “Apart from winning the highly coveted award, Saint Lucia was also nominated in three other categories, namely, World’s Leading Island Destination, World’s Leading Wedding Destination and World’s Most Romantic Destination 2020.
Commenting on the award, tourism minister Dominic Fedee said; “Saint Lucia’s internationally acclaimed status is what we strive for daily in our strategic marketing and promotion efforts. The destination undoubtedly boasts of true passion in all key niches and amongst its hidden gems. It is indeed an honor for Saint Lucia to be named once again as the World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination, a sincere reflection of our culture and the people who propel the industry.”
While COVID-19 ravages the island, the government of Saint Lucia has rejected outright the need for a COVID-19 test on tourist during their stay on the island, “not understanding the rationale and the need to bother the guest who is here for an average six-day vacation and the economic benefit they offer to the country,” a minister of government explains, while another question “the money-making aspect of a second test and the motive of the advice to the government, given that a local lab would stand to provide the service, free from corruption.
Meantime prime minister Allen Chastanet, chairman of the Command Centre Dominic Fedee, chief medical officer Dr Sharon Belmar-George and assistant commissioner of police Milton Desir, announced the extension of measures to limit movement and curtail social gatherings to reduce the number of active COVID-19 cases on the island.
The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) has selected 200 individuals for training as COVID wardens. “Officers would take the lead – officers would supervise them. They will be in various districts so that this would give them the opportunity to deal with COVID issues and the police officers especially, at this Christmas season, will deal with matters of a criminal nature,” said deputy commissioner, Desir.
It is widely known that the island’s health infrastructure and human capacity has exceeded demand, alongside the expired usefulness of the Cabinet of ministers’ to formulate policy and effect a COVID-19 strategy. The deficit in health infrastructure and capacity has been left to the benevolence of foreign governments like Taiwan, Cuba and lately the government of France donated 50 folding beds, 10 cardiac monitors and 2 ventilators.
Medical officer of health, Dr Glensford Joseph, described the donation as timely, observed the spike in cases of COVID-19 locally, there has been an increasing demand on Saint Lucia’s human resources and infrastructure.
“We have the respiratory centre and there’s urgent need for such vital equipment to enhance the capacity of the medical staff in managing patients,” Joseph said.
Therefore, with the highly coveted industry accolade ‘World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination’, recognized for the 12th time, and for the third consecutive year since 2018, the SLTA stated: “In marketing the destination as one of the mecca’s of the travel industry globally, the SLTA continues to place specific brand focus on the destinations alluring beauty, romantic appeal, diverse culture, verdant landscapes, delightful people and the infectious and inspiring love for the island.”
Conversely, Saint Lucia remains deficient in basic medical and infrastructure standards, heading into COVID-19 second wave.