We have got to get serious
In the space of less than one month, St Vincent and the Grenadines moved from having not a single recorded case of locally transmitted Covid-19 infection to over 400 cases in Vincentians with no history of recent travel. In the last four days, we also recorded our first two Covid-19 deaths.
For most of 2020, while Covid-19 ravaged much of the rest of the world, residents of St Vincent and the Grenadines enjoyed 10 months of relatively normal existence, this country having been relatively untouched by the coronavirus pandemic.
Overnight, Vincentians have been required to do things much differently if we are to come out of this without many more casualties. This fight against Covid-19 must become very personal for each and every resident of our nation. This is not the Government’s fight, it is our fight.
With the current levels of infection, by now, every Vincentian must have been personally touched by this virus – we either were or are infected, know someone who is or was infected, or we or someone we know is or was in quarantine, having been a close contact of a positive person. Sadly, we may also know one of persons who died.
We must now all put our energies into digging ourselves out of this hole. The fight against this virus must take place on the ground, at the individual level, if we are to succeed. There is no room in the fight against Covid-19 for individuals to resist protocols because they make us uncomfortable or require us to adjust our lifestyles for the time being.
The Prime Minister has to date resisted a chorus of calls for tighter and more definitive restrictions, appealing instead to the reasonableness and discretion of our people in applying the protocols.
While many have complied, far too many people seem not to understand the serious situation in which we now find ourselves. The protocols for mass gatherings stipulate a maximum of 10 people inside and 20 outside, yet this past weekend, funerals around the country saw dozens of people seated inside the churches – some masked, some unmasked. Passenger vans continue to ply their routes packed to capacity, bars continue to be patronized by men sitting around the domino tables with their masks nicely tucked under their chins and groups of young people still lime on the block with no consideration that they may take the virus home to their parents and grandparents.
Covid-19 infects and affects individuals, it must therefore be fought on the individual level. Let us get serious Vincentians. This is not just the Government’s fight. It is our fight.