Is St Lucia masking COVID-19 response, with political optics?

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      • 24 new COVID-19 cases: #3,803 to date
      • One COVID-19 related death: #39 to date

CASTRIES, St Lucia – The government is ostensibly playing Russian roulette with COVID-19 cases, the lives and livelihood of Saint Lucians. The reporting methods, use of data and the inconsistency of statistical information released by the government and ministry of health (MOH) are at best inconclusive and more often questionable, in line with political optics.

COVID-19 cases

On Tuesday morning March 2, the ministry of health (MOH) reported 155 positive cases out of 377 tests. Late Tuesday evening, the MOH reported an additional 234 new cases out of 821 samples and one death. This brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the country to date to 37 and 3,779 diagnosed cases in the country to date.

Pretentious to judicious analysis, is the MOH “update on COVID-19 at the Bordelais Correctional Faculty, reported March 2, 2021.

“On February 28, 2021, the ministry of health received confirmation from the Ezra Long Laboratory of 105 positive COVID-19 tests results for inmates at the Bordelais Correctional Facility. The ministry of health also received 19 negative test results for 17 inmates and two correctional officers. This was from a testing activity for the Bordelais Correctional Facility staff and inmates which was conducted on February 23, 2021. These newly confirmed cases from the correctional facility were part of the batch of 155 confirmed cases reported by the ministry of health on Monday, March 1, 2021.”

On Wednesday, 24 new cases of COVID-19 bring the total number of cases diagnosed in the country to date is 3,803; and one COVID-19 related death brings the total number of deaths in the country to 39, active COVID-19 cases active in the country to date is 537, as reported by the MOH.

Vaccine campaign

“The administering of vaccines in Saint Lucia began on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, and for the past two weeks it has been focused on vaccinating those who are at the highest risk of being exposed to the virus; that is health care workers in clinical settings, first responders, security service personnel and other front-line workers,” the MOH said on Monday, March 1, 2021.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet visited two COVID-19 vaccination sites on Tuesday, March 2, to coincide with the COVID-19 vaccination response. The optics are politically inclined as expressed in language, video and pictures on social media.

“As a way to express my gratitude to the Frontliners and citizens who were courageously participating in today’s extremely vital exercise, I took the opportunity to visit the two Vaccination sites which were in Grand Riviere, Dennery and the Ti Rocher Wellness Centre in my constituency of Micoud South.

“Was proud to witness Senator Angelina Phera Polius at the Vaccination site in Dennery, leading by example and getting vaccinated whilst also giving voluntary assistance. In case you didn’t know, tomorrow’s vaccination Programme moves to the Bexon Wellness Centre,” Chastanet’s Facebook page, said.

The vaccine campaign is a donation from the governments of Barbados and Dominica totalling 3,000 doses. And the arrival of 25,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, a gift from the Republic of India, on Monday March 1, 2021.

Vaccine expectations

Notable, the pronouncement by the government of Saint Lucia that AstraZeneca vaccines will be forthcoming form the following markets: COVAX Facility: 74,000 – AMSP CARICOM: 35,739 – Government of India: 185,100 – by February 2021, has not materialized.

The government of Jamaica plans to procure four million doses of vaccines alongside plans to vaccinate 65 percent of the population by March 31, 2022.

On Monday, Colombia became the first country in the Americas to receive COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility, marking a historic step toward the goal of ensuring equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the region and worldwide.

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