NDP STATEMENT ON RECENT COVID-19 MEASURES IN SVG
Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines: For several weeks now, the COVID-19 crisis in SVG has gotten worse with each passing day. Over 1300 confirmed cases have been recorded in SVG since March 2020, the vast majority within the last 6 weeks. There are now over 800 confirmed COVID 19 cases and six known deaths from the disease in SVG.
The government has been slow and indecisive in combatting the spread and, for no apparent good reason, even resisted characterizing the outbreak as community spread. Calls from the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. the Honourable Godwin Friday, and others for more effective measures such as mandatory wearing of masks in public and provision of more isolation facilities to assist persons with COVID-19 have been rejected out of hand and even ridiculed by members of the government.
The recent announcement by the Ministry of Health to admit the reality of community spread and to make wearing of masks in public places mandatory and restrict the numbers of persons in public transport vehicles, rum shops and restaurants shows a reversal of the government’s position. Though late, the announcement is a step in the right direction as the measures, if properly enforced, can reduce the spread of the disease.
Notwithstanding the new measures announced by the government, the NDP continues to call for stricter measures to secure our borders including restricting flights and boats coming into SVG for a period of 28 days, with exception for nationals returning home and for necessary commerce.
“It is better to take the necessary measures now than to delay further and make the situation worse” said Dr. Friday.
The NDP cautions against the continued piece-meal, timid approach by the government to addressing the spiraling cases of COVID-19 and calls for a more decisive and proactive approach from the government. The government must also provide financial support to van operators to promote compliance with the public transportation restrictions and to ensure the critical service they provide will continue.
We also continue to call on everyone to follow the protocols and to be responsible in this time of crisis. Because of the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, we have an obligation to one another to do all we can to combat its spread. We must continue to wash or sanitize our hands regularly, practice physical distancing and wearing of masks when in public, and staying at home as much as we can.
Let us be safe.