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NDP calls on government to outline Covid-19 plan

NDP calls on government to outline Covid-19 plan

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The New Democratic Party (NDP) has accused the government of being cavalier in its approach to the management of Covid-19 in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The opposition party issued a release yesterday, January 7 which stated that the ULP-led administration “appears to have no effective plan to comprehensively address this crisis”.

Up to press time, a total of 149 Covid-19 cases have been recorded in St Vincent and the Grenadines, 49 of which were active cases. These active cases are inclusive of 23 local positive cases with no recent travel history.

On Wednesday, 16 new cases were recorded – the highest number of cases ever to be recorded in one day in SVG. Five of these were imported while 11 were local cases.

“The New Democratic Party is extremely concerned about this increase in the number of Covid-19 cases, especially as they have resulted from local transmission,” the release said. “The recent developments have heighted public concern about the situation and has diminished public confidence in the way the government is seeking to manage the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Several high-ranking government officials including the health minister, chief medical officer and permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health are currently in quarantine after being exposed to an individual who tested positive for Covid-19.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Frankie Joseph has tested positive for Covid-19 and members of the high command of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, including Commissioner of Police Colin John, have been ordered to quarantine, following possible exposure as well.

“The government has adopted a cavalier approach, and continues to send mixed messages to Vincentians, forcing businesses and other institutions to administer their own plans to protect their customers and employees,” the NDP’s release said.

And the opposition party called on the government to provide the public with timely and adequate information about the state of the pandemic in SVG and to implement measures that will prevent further local transmission of the virus.

The release noted that the spike in positive cases has already affected the education system by delaying the reopening of schools and other educational institutions by at least two weeks.

And it urged that schools remain closed until the situation of local spread is brought under control.

“Now that many countries have started Covid-19 vaccination, the government must determine how it will treat vaccinated persons entering SVG and make its own plan known to the public, especially the hospitality industry. We also call on the government to outline its plan, if it has any, for the use of the Covid-19 vaccine in SVG,” the release said.

It added that “despite all we have learned about the management of the coronavirus overtime, it is clear that the situation regarding coronavirus in SVG is worse today than it has ever been.

“It is, therefore, premature and grossly misleading for the Prime Minister or any other member of the Government to speak in self-congratulatory terms about the management of the pandemic,” the NDP’s release said.

Dr Godwin Friday, the president of the NDP and the leader of the Opposition, also reiterated his call for everyone to act responsibly via yesterday’s release.

“We must all remain on high alert and do all that we can to prevent further spread of the virus. Remain calm, wear face masks, maintain social distance when interacting with the public, avoid large crowds where possible and wash hands regularly as recommended by the World Health Organisation. Be safe,” he said.