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Health authorities contemplating introduction of new category for “very high risk” countries

Health authorities contemplating introduction of new category for “very high risk” countries
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves

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LOCAL HEALTH AUTHORITIES are contemplating the introduction of a new category for countries – “very high risk”, as they continue to take steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

It is also unlikely that there will be any relaxation of the restrictions at the airport in the near future.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said on Sunday that persons who ask for the relaxation of measures at the airport have not sufficiently taken into account the management of the risks brought about in this time of COVID-19.

One such risk involves different strains of the virus coming into St Vincent and the Grenadines through incoming travellers. The minister of National Security said this is an important factor that has to be controlled and regulated.

He also said that authorities have to continue to ensure that manpower resources are utilised properly and that all risks are managed as best as possible in the circumstances.

“Countries from all over the world are seeing the value in having restrictions and controls at ports of entry and it is – in fact, rather than people loosening those restrictions, they are tightening them and indeed, in our case, I think perhaps we will have to tighten further for persons coming from very highrisk countries,”

the Prime Minister said during the Issues at Hand programme on We FM on Sunday.

The current categorisations include ‘high risk’, ‘medium risk’ and ‘low risk’.

“There probably has to be a category now, I’ve been hearing the discussion with the epidemiologist and the people in the health services subcommittee of NEMO, of including a category called the ‘very high risk’…to be able to manage that particular kind of risk much better,” Gonsalves said.

He noted that COVID-19 did not originate in SVG, having come to the shores of the multi-island state through ports and persons coming into contact with others from overseas; whether legally and illegally.

The prime minister also acknowledged that the recent spike being experienced locally has connections to various gatherings over the Christmas and New Year period.

“We went through all of that before. What has to happen now is that we follow all the established protocols,” Gonsalves said.