By Caribbean News Global contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia – Addressing Saint Lucia on the evening of February 2, 2021, on the backdrop of COVID-19 surge, an upturn in deaths, backlog in testing, unknown and undisclosed COVID-19 cases, capacity issues in both the education and health systems, prime minister Allen Chastanet announced effective Wednesday, February 3, 2021, the island returns to a state of emergency.
What the prime minister did not announce is a return to preferred COVID-19 economics, picking and choosing winners and looser in a corrupting economic environment.
“The measure will be in place for an initial seven days. This will allow us to further restrict movement with a curfew from 7.00 pm to 5.00 am effective Wednesday, February 3,” said prime minister Chastanet.
On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOH) recorded 68 new cases of COVID-19 and the island 16th COVID related death – a 61-year-old male from Castries district with “multiple underlying illnesses.”
The sample period ranges from January 22, 2021, to January 31, 2021. The total number of active cases in the country is 749. The total number of cases diagnosed in the country to date stands at 1470.
Considering the return to a state of emergency the prime minister announced that the COVID-19 act is being amended, to coincide with new curfew measures announced from 7:00 PM – 05:00 AM effective February 3, 2021.
According to prime minister Chastanet, “the latest measures were not taken lightly, we know it will be an inconvenience to all of you.” Noteworthy, the prime minister said,“ tourism is on the rebound” however, visitors will now require a PCR test within five days of arrival rather than seven days.
COVID-19 in Saint Lucia is primarily through the front door of what is now termed – pandemic tourism. However, the island “remains open” to the UK, US and Canada, even though travel, in general, is not advised, at this time.
Canada has suspended flights to the Caribbean and Mexico stating that the “New variants of COVID-19 pose a real challenge to Canada,” said prime minister Justin Trudeau last Friday. “That’s why we need to take extra measures.” He announced Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat have all agreed to suspend their flights to those popular so-called “sun destinations” until April 30, 2021.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on January 19, updated COVID-19 in Saint Lucia to Level 4: Very high level of COVID-19, adding, “travelers should avoid all travel to Saint Lucia.”
Facing numerous challenges internally and externally, the address to the nation attempted to present a coordinated voice with contributions from the hotel sector, bankers association, the business sector, the medical and dental associations, manufacturing association, the leader of the opposition, albeit the government is yet to introduce suggestions from the various sectors.
# CNG Insights
“The address/update to the nation was just another talk-shop and ego massaging of the prime minister, lacking measures to relieve hardships and attend to the medical emergency facing the island,” said a Caribbean News Global (CNG) contributor.
COVID-19: A bitter pill to swallow, wrote, Dr Alphonsus St Rose, Independent Candidate for Choiseul/Saltibus.
“While executing this war on COVID-19 we need to:
- Provide relief to suffering citizens;
- Create a plan to rebuild a more resilient, diversified and sustainable local economy.”
“This “update to the nation” is more in keeping with a United Workers Party (UWP) “update of illusions and fallacies” has failed miserably. Nothing uttered here this evening is expected to improve and/or advance the health/economic crisis facing Saint Lucia.
“It’s no wonder that a clique of Cabinet ministers called for the resignation of prime minister Chastanet, months before a general election,” an internal source told CNG.