SAINT Lucia and the rest of the Caribbean region continues to monitor the global developments of the COVID-19 virus which was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Prime Minister Hon. Allen Chastanet called an emergency meeting with The National Emergency Management Advisory Committee (NEMAC) on Friday 28th February, 2020 to brief stakeholders of the disaster management landscape on the ongoing national response to safeguard against the arrival of the virus on our shores.
In a comprehensive presentation made by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Sharon Belmar George; a summary of the situation globally was given, followed by the Regional and National Response to the COVID-19. Nationally, several agencies and governmental organisations have already mobilised to do the following:
1. Create the COVID-19 Coordination Committee
2. Activate the National Health Security Committee
3. Enhancement of Port Health Services
4. Active Surveillance at high risk institutions (ports, hotels)
5. Establishment of Diagnostic Capacity – CARPHA (24 – 28 hours)
6. Health Care Facility Preparation
7. Risk Communication Plan and Health Education
8. Training of Health care workers
9. Creation and Management of Isolation and Quarantine Sites
10. Distribution of Protocols to relevant Sectors
11. Promotion of General Hygiene measures and Infection Control for border agencies, health care personnel and the general public.
Prime Minister Hon. Allen Chastanet expressed that the importance now has to be placed on adopting new behaviours to prevent the spread of the virus. He called upon Saint Lucians to follow the health advisories. He went on to state that:
“The greatest threat at this time however is misinformation. As we closely monitor the situation there is no need to spread false news or information to incite fear or panic. We will investigate and prosecute to the highest power that we have. I ask Saint Lucians to cease and desist from spreading misinformation.”
The Prime Minister went on record saying that updates and information about the virus will come from the Ministry of Health and will be shared through NEMAC and its organisations.
Citizens are encouraged to monitor the Ministry of Health social media platform news and bulletins as we continue to monitor, prepare and protect our nation.