Suspension of certain ports of entry and six other Covid-19 initiatives announced by Gov’t of SVG
The government, on Monday, March 16 will issue an order of suspension for certain formal ports of entry into St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
This is one of seven initiatives being taken by the government as it moves to address the presence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on these shores.
SVG confirmed its first imported case of the virus on Wednesday, March 11 and Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, during his National Hero’s Day address, said that several meetings of officials have taken place since then to address the issue.
Gonsalves revealed the government’s intention to issue an order of suspension for certain formal ports of entry while the hours of operation at other ports will be expanded in some instances.
The Prime Minister said he has also given approval to hire between 20 and 25 additional Vincentian nurses “to strengthen surveillance, maintenance and management of COVID 19 especially at the airports and other ports of entry”.
He added that he has formally requested from the Cuban government, 12 nurses and three doctors who specialise in handling infectious diseases including COVID-19, to assist in further training of local nurses and medical personnel in those areas.
The third initiative outlined by the Prime Minister is the purchase of the drug, Interferon, which is known to strengthen the immune system of an individual to help fight viruses.
“It is essentially, I have been advised, an antiviral pharmaceutical product. I’ve also been advised that it is one of six drugs that the Chinese government has been using to help them to contain the spread of COVID-19 inside of China,” Gonsalves said.
Fourthly, a hotline has been introduced — 534 – HEAL (4325) — so that persons can call to get information or to report possible cases of the virus.
Gonsalves said an order for equipment and supplies for the testing of COVID-19 was made by health minister, Luke Browne.
The Prime Minister also announced a sixth initiative; the commencement of work this weekend on the isolation centre which is located in the Mt Pleasant/Argyle area.
The government’s seventh initiative is the retrofitting and equipping of five containers, which will be used for additional isolation on several of the Grenadines islands and rural areas on mainland.
“I want to reiterate what the ministry of health has been saying, what I have been saying and what the Leader of the Opposition just said here about basic hygenic practices to keep one another safe,” Gonsalves said.
He stressed that “having the coronavirus doesn’t mean a death sentence”.
“We have to be very careful that we don’t get hysterical and that we move from a situation of concern to one of such heightened fear and panic that that heightened fear and panic and hysteria is worse than the virus itself,” the Prime Minister said.