The Government of Saint Lucia yesterday unveiled plans for a phased reopening of the economy following weeks of a shut down and curfew.
This comes amid much praise for the health team from the Ministry of Health led by Chief Medical Officer Sharon Belmar-George and news that Saint Lucia presently has zero confirmed cases of COVID-19.
There are five phases to the re-opening of Saint Lucia’s economy. Phases one and two have already been passed. The country will on Monday, 18 May 2020 start phase three which will see the full operation of more sectors under strict protocols.
As of Monday, the zones, which currently divide the country into north and south, will be removed. The curfew will remain in effect but will now be shifted to start from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am.
The phases will take Saint Lucia all the way into June when the travel industry is likely to re-open under strict protocols.
Yesterday, in an over three-hour session, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, along with the team from the Operations Command Centre went through plans to get the economy going once again.
The meeting was Chaired by Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee who is also chairperson of the Command Centre. Several agencies and stakeholders joined the meeting via Zoom as the Chief Medical Officer Sharon Belmar-George, Delivery Unit Director Charon Gardner-Hippolyte and PS of Tourism Donalyn Vittet went through a detailed presentation.
“We are here at a key juncture of our COVID fight,” stated PM Chastanet. “We started off this process to delay the impact of COVID as a virus into Saint Lucia while preparing ourselves to handle a potential outbreak. I want to congratulate all Saint Lucians and the team putting in the hours and say well done Saint Lucia! We have had 18 cases and as it stands today there are no current confirmed cases that we know of that have COVID. We have brought in Saint Lucians off the cruise ships who are currently in quarantine and over 90 percent of the persons that developed COVID after our first five cases were already in quarantine or isolation and that is a tribute to the contact tracing team that we have here.”
The Prime Minister spoke about actions taken by the Government to address COVID-19 and the set-up of Victoria Hospital as a respiratory centre.
“The vast majority of Saint Lucians have learned to change their daily behaviour,” said PM Chastanet. “The plan today is to outline for the next couple of months what we expect to see happening and therefore persons can more adequately prepare for businesses re-opening and how that is going to work. The protocols are required because we are still under threat.”
The Prime Minister says he remains concerned about persons coming in illegally especially from Martinique.
“We have to be in a position that if at anytime we see an outbreak we can adapt and move quickly to isolate that outbreak,” said PM Chastanet.
In his opening statement the Prime Minister said the team has been hard at work on protocols for the opening of the international borders, noting his role within the OECS in spearheading the effort of a regional approach.