A strict curfew will remain in place over the weekend as Saint Lucia continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken 128 lives and infected over 9,400 people. The curfew was implemented by government recently in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus.
“We have to increase our efforts in fighting this war,” Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre said in a Facebook post recently.
“Let’s continue following the protocols so that we can get back to the things that we love. We have to do this together; sanitize, wear your mask, maintain physical distance and get vaccinated,” he added.
The operating protocols for Saturday September 11 to September 12 are as follows:
Saturday September 11 from 7:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. with business, establishments or offices ceasing operations at 6:00 p.m., while on Sunday September 12 the curfew is all day.
“When we look at the progress of the cases in Saint Lucia over time from our first case in 2020 to present, we note that with this current wave it has peaked beyond what we had earlier this year. For this fourth wave the highest numbers were reported within the week of August 22nd to 28th where we recorded 958 cases of COVID-19 and this has surpassed what we had seen in January,” said National Epidemiologist Dr. Michelle Francois at a press conference recently.
According to Francois, the highest number of COVID -19 cases come from the Castries region (30%) followed by Gros Islet (19%), Babonneau (10%) and Vieux Fort (8%).
“As of September 7, 2021, we have recorded a total of 9,258 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Saint Lucia, 3,204 of which have been recorded in the last 28 days. In terms of our variants we have recorded 54 of the Alpha and three of the Delta. This by no means indicates that these are the numbers in circulation,” Francois noted.
“We are challenged in terms of being able to diagnose in Saint Lucia and so samples are sent to the Caribbean Republic Health Agency. We are only afforded ten samples monthly so we have a selection criteria which we put in place at the lab to be able to as much as possible detect cases which appear to be one of the variants,” she added.
In a statement Tuesday, National Immunisation Manager Tecla Jn Baptiste observed that since the first reported case of COVID-19, Saint Lucia continues to see its frontline workers such as firemen, police officers and healthcare workers affected by the virus.
“Health care personnel continue to be on the frontline of the nation’s fight against COVID-19. By providing critical care to those who are or might be infected, they are at increased risk of infection. Therefore, frontline workers are encouraged to get vaccinated,” Jn Baptiste stated.
The National Immunisation Manager observed that the significant increase in reported cases over the past two weeks indicates active transmission of the virus in the population. As a result, she explained that to maximise protection from the virus, and particularly the Delta variant, and possible transmission to others in close contact, an appeal goes out to Saint Lucians to get vaccinated.
She disclosed that to date, 15.6% of the population is fully vaccinated, accounting for 28,312 people having received both doses of the vaccine.
Meanwhile the National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT) is calling on its members to observe the protocols now more than ever as several members have been stricken by the virus.
The Council’s First Vice President Kentry Frederick, this week acknowledged that the pandemic has dealt a “severe blow” to the health and finances of bus drivers stating that 50 or more of them have been stricken with the disease.
Talks between the NCOPT and the Ministry of Transport regarding the way forward were expected to be held yesterday.