Editorial

Harsher Punishment for COVID-19 Protocols Violation?

How government manages the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged economy and how it goes about enforcing the virus’ protocols now, will determine Saint Lucia’s economic status in six to 12 months or even later.

There is no escaping this.

With three new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) already raising concerns about possible heightened spread and severity, and already having been detected in 14 countries in the Americas, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), getting the right balance between lives and livelihoods is everything now.

The seriousness of COVID-19 and its variants is captured by PAHO in this quote; “It has recently been documented that people infected with the VOC 202012/01 variant have a higher risk of death than people infected with other variants. Preliminary studies suggest that the 501Y.V2 variant is associated with a higher viral load, which could suggest a potential for greater transmissibility.”

Saint Lucia has already recorded the presence of one (or more) of the several variants.

With positive COVID-19 cases spiking at an alarming rate these past few days within all corners of the country, we are now well over 1000 cases and COVID-19 related deaths (13 at last count) now reaching numbers we never ever dreamt we would reach in such a short space of time. Management and enforcement strategies aimed at curbing the virus’ spread must be on point at all times.

We believe government means well in reasoning with citizens to stick to the protocols when stepping out of their homes.  Such a measure is, however, just simply not working. What we are seeing today in the communities and the attitude of certain Saint Lucians to COVID-19 protocols underscores the need to toughen punishments for violation of such protocols.

Tougher and harsher measures by government against breaches of the protocols has now become mandatory.  It is true that a large number of us live from pay-check to pay-check and would be unable to survive, even for a short time, without that regular income. The “I-don’t-care” attitude of too many Saint Lucians to the protocols designed specifically for their safety has to be stopped.

It has been remarked by some about how well certain countries have handled the virus. What is not pointed out, however,  is the fact that behind such successes are tough laws, violation of which lead to  imprisonment and steep fines.

It is that style of management and enforcement we are calling for in Saint Lucia. While we are open to other suggestions, we are certain that should government go the suggested way and our law enforcement body step up their game and show that no one is above the law with respect to COVID, we will see improvements almost immediately in the war we are waging against this deathly virus.

Government’s primary purpose right now is to activate its resources to achieve one simple goal: -, to efficiently and effectively halt the community spread of the virus.  And we as citizens should be assisting government, as best as we can, towards this end.

‘We are in this together’ is more than a catch phrase. It should be the country’s rallying cry in its battle against COVID-19 and government should step up to the task.

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