Saint Lucia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in ensuring a safe and strategic approach to the reopening of the economy seems to have received rave reviews the world over.
Not only has the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reduced Saint Lucia’s COVID-19 rating to the lowest, which is level one, meaning it is one of only eight countries globally that over the last 28 days, new cases of COVID-19 decreased or stabilized, AOL, formally America Online, has a caption saying “How much it costs to live in 15 COVID-free countries” and rated Saint Lucia as the number two country in the world that could provide visitors with a gorgeous and safe place to wait out the pandemic.
It must be noted that Saint Lucia welcomed its first commercial flight on July 9, with a measure of strictly enforced protocols in place which include pretesting within seven days of arrival in the destination, mandatory screening on arrival, use of certified taxis and hotels, a 14-day quarantine period for non-bubble countries, the wearing of masks in public and the observance of physical distancing.
The raving reviews the island is receiving as a result of its low number of COVID-19 cases is now serving as a boost to the tourism sector with Prime Minister Allen Chastanet commenting that “This is even more validation of our country’s success in the management of COVID-19,” and that the cooperation of all the stakeholders in the travel industry is needed in ensuring that pre-testing is done before visitors arrive in Saint Lucia.
The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism have praised the endorsement as timely saying it encourages visitors to enjoy an extended stay on a relatively affordable budget.
Even the Chairman of the National COVID-19 Response Committee and Minister for Tourism, Dominic Fedee said it was an honour to see that the strategic approach to responsible reopening of the tourism sector, dedication and sacrifice of the Government, frontline workers and the cooperation of the public was topical in international jurisdictions.
Now government, through the Caribcation brand is working assiduously to introduce its extended stay program where visitors would be able to work, stay and play, all the while enjoying Saint Lucia’s culture.
We are saying that amid the glowing reviews on how well Saint Lucia is doing with the coronavirus pandemic, it should continue to be ever vigilant as just one case of the virus in the community could erode all the gains it has made over the past months, hence the need to ensure that all protocols pertaining to the virus are heeded by Saint Lucians, particularly bus drivers, who continue to pack their buses with passengers sitting shoulder to shoulder with no spaces between them.
We reiterate, the gains made to date fighting COVID-19 could disappear in a flash should, God forbid, someone with the virus hops onto a bus heading into any one of the communities on island.
The authorities should pay closer attention to minibuses on the island as they ply their various routes so as to guarantee adherence to COVID-19 protocols governing minibuses.