Gonsalves to evacuees: Get tested please
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is pleading with persons in shelters to get tested for COVID19, as local authorities continue to make strides in amalgamating the emergency housing facilities and free up building space.
Gonsalves said last Tuesday, June 15 that as of two days prior, 61 shelters remained active with 2169 occupants.
This is 27 shelters fewer than the initial 88 which were activated in April when La Soufriere began erupting explosively.
The number of occupants has also decreased significantly as persons begin returning to their homes in the red zone.
At one time, more than 7000 people occupied shelters.
“There are some challenges. Some people are not willing to take a COVID test or to transfer to another shelter so that we can consolidate the numbers, and to reduce the number of buildings in use…” Gonsalves said at a press conference in Cabinet Room last week.
Contrary to what is being said about people having to return home in orange zone communities, the Prime Minister said no one is being forced or chased from shelters.
He said his government was “responding to a multiplicity of issues; some of them in contradiction to one another because the situation is complex”.
Gonsalves revealed the government’s intentions to repair schools, most of which are being used as shelters.
In addition to this, the Prime Minister expressed the belief that it was a good idea for persons to get out of shelters as soon as practicable.
“…But at the same time, the last thing that this government, certainly I, want to see happening is men, women and children, outside of the shelter and they don’t have anywhere to go,” he said.
Gonsalves said local authorities wish to do things in “the most expeditious of ways” and he pleaded with evacuees to get tested so that the amalgamation of shelters can go smoothly.
He reminded persons that nearly 50 per cent of COVID19 cases are asymptomatic, meaning that people may not know that they are infected because they are not showing any symptoms.
Gonsalves said that false information, and fake news have led to the reluctance of persons to be tested for the virus which is affecting countries world-wide. But he continued to plead with people to listen to the right information and be tested.
“Please take the test. The fewer buildings we have occupied, the quicker we get everything back to normalcy, including your children and grandchildren and the thing is so self-evident,” Gonsalves said.
“There are some smaller buildings which we can put persons in which are not currently occupied, but there’s a limited number of those. Some of them are privately owned buildings, some of them are government owned buildings, but we want you to be reasonable.”
The Prime Minister said the process of amalgamating shelters will continue.