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Saint Lucia Updates COVID-19 Protocols

Statement from the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs

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Fellow Saint Lucians, the Cabinet of Ministers has taken the advice of the COVID-19 Management Centre and a wide cross section of the Saint Lucian society on the COVID-19 Protocols. We have taken a decision to review all aspects of the current Protocols, in order to bring normalcy to our activities while at the same time protecting the health and wellbeing of our nation.

You may recall on January 30, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO), declared the COVID19 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Saint Lucia implemented; border closures, increased surveillance at the ports and health care facilities, the setup of quarantine facilities, the procurement of supplies, early detection and testing capacity and access to care was provided for, at the various Respiratory Centres and the Respiratory Hospital.

As of August 26, 2022, Saint Lucia has diagnosed twenty-eight thousand seven hundred and thirty (28,730) cases of COVID-19 in our country, with approximately 117 active recorded cases currently. Unfortunately, we have recorded three hundred and ninety-one (391) COVID-19 deaths to date and Saint Lucia continues to register new cases on a daily basis.

The COVID-19 vaccination rate remains below standard at 30%. Saint Lucians can access vaccines at all of the Wellness Centres and they are also available for children from five years old.

The Ministry of Health led a national effort with other sectors and partners, both public and private, and together managed six waves of COVID-19. Three years later, the country has strengthened its public health capacity to safely manage COVID-19 and the response has been integrated into the regular infectious disease programme.

The following changes to the protocols will take effect from Monday September 5, 2022:

General Protocols: The physical distance and mass crowd limitation protocol is removed. The capacity restriction on public transportation has been removed but mask wearing is required. The hand sanitation and temperature checks on entry of business establishments is optional and at the discretion of the service provider. Full authorization is granted for the importation and use of rapid antigen tests. Business establishments reserve the right to implement public health measures as required.

Face Mask Mandate: In general, the wearing of face masks is optional but remains highly recommended to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Face masks are mandated in the following circumstances: if one has tested positive for COVID-19, has respiratory symptoms or is a direct contact of a positive case, accessing general health services, accessing police and fire stations, correctional facilities, elderly homes, attending religious ceremonies where there are large crowds of people in close contact, educational institutions, in enclosed crowded environments and accessing public transportation.

Educational Sector: All school activities have been re-established with the strict enforcement of keeping sick children at home. The mask is mandated during assemblies and activities in school with large numbers in enclosed spaces. The enhanced cleaning and sanitation of schools to be maintained.

Travel Protocols: The testing and vaccination requirement for entry into Saint Lucia is removed. Passengers would be required to fill out the health screening form for arrival into our country.

We remind the public that although the measures are relaxed at this time to encourage the return to normalcy, COVID-19 is still circulating in Saint Lucia and remains a major concern. Given our low immunization rate and the growing evidence of long COVID, COVID-19 remains a public health threat. With the general relaxation of the measures, personal responsibly becomes paramount.

On behalf of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers, I would like thank all of the healthcare and other workers who continue to make tremendous sacrifices to keep our country safe. Thanks, to the people of Saint Lucia for your patience and cooperation during this difficult period. We have overcome adversity before and we will come out of this challenge a stronger nation.

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