The Government of Saint Lucia is not in favour of calls by certain sections of the population to lock-down the country for a specific time as a means of controlling the coronavirus.
Prime Minister Philip J Pierre said that while this worked before it came at a heavy economic cost to the country as well as creating other health issues for many.
“A complete lockdown of our country is, therefore, an unlikely option for the government. It would be too costly an option, at a time when the government’s financial resources are wafer-thin. Moreover, a complete lock-down can only be a temporary solution. While a complete lock-down would result in an improvement in controlling the spread of the virus, its effect would be shortlived until we reopen the country, only to be faced with the re-emergence of viral infections. The reality is we need to remain integrated with the rest of the world to earn, as thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly, would be affected,” Pierre said during an address to the nation Wednesday night.
He added, “In remaining integrated with the rest of the world, we will unavoidably face the real risk of viral infections. Remember, it only takes one person to be infected for the virus to spread across the country, leaving thousands infected. With the mutation of the virus, new mutants can become more transmissible, as we are currently experiencing with the Delta variant.”
The prime minister is of the view that vaccination is the best tool available to fight the coronavirus, saying that this is not his opinion but that of health experts throughout the world who are best placed to advise the rest of us.
“The facts are indisputable: over 95% of infected people who become seriously ill and requiring hospitalization or die are not vaccinated. In our local situation, the figure is even higher at 98%. To fight this war our people must therefore get vaccinated and do so quickly,” Pierre said.
He noted some logistical challenges in administering the vaccine and said that the Ministry of Health is currently taking measures to improve the situation and to ensure that those who wish to be vaccinated will get vaccinated in quick time.
“Despite what has been done we accept that more must be done to make the vaccine more readily available to the public. We are currently ramping up all efforts to get the number of people vaccinated to the level of herd immunity. We shall secure the necessary vaccines, with the availability of choice, and related resources, to ensure that this target is met as soon as possible,” Pierre said.