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SVG might record deaths from COVID-19 – Francis

SVG might record deaths from COVID-19 – Francis
Left to Right: JULIAN FRANCIS & DR CARISSA ETIENNE

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The possibility exists that St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) may record deaths from COVID-19 in the future.

This is the opinion of Minister of Transport and Works Julian Francis, which he expressed recently while speaking on Star FM.

Francis noted that in St Vincent and the Grenadines, there is a health program focused on managing COVID-19, and getting us out of it with as little loss of life as possible, but we are going to lose some if the pandemic continues for another two or three months.

“Our chances of getting a fatality…two to three months down the road. You never know what the future brings. We have put things in place, we are managing it well,” said Francis, who noted that Vincentians living abroad have died.

He said that locally, the virus seems to have stabilized as we are currently at 12, but we are not out of the woods.

The number of Covid-19 positive cases has since increased to 14.

An April 15 article in the Trinidad Guardian noted that the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) director and the World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director for the Americas, Dr Carissa Etienne, is warning the region to prepare for a full COVID-19 blast within the next few weeks.

The article said Dr Etienne stated that they neither anticipated nor were they prepared for the magnitude of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Etienne made the comment during a virtual press briefing on April 14 on PAHO’s response to the pandemic and the evolving situation of the virus in the Americas.

The press briefing was streamed live from PAHO’s headquarters in Washington and according to the Trinidad Guardian, Dr Etienne said COVID-19 was yet to hit with full force in the region, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean and PAHO expected it would intensify in the next few weeks.

“The rise in hospitalizations and deaths we see in countries highlights how quickly the situation could change,” the Guardian quoted her as saying.

“We must act with urgency before the storm hits most of our countries, to protect ourselves, families and communities…in the short term, there is a dire need to expand ICU capacity in the region,” Dr Etienne said.

According to The Guardian, Dr Etienne is of the view that countries need to guarantee that drugs and vaccines that are being developed would be accessible to all in the region, especially in the most vulnerable communities and that focusing on social distancing remained countries’ best bet to reducing transmission and slowing the spread of the virus.

“It prevents hospitals from being overwhelmed by too many sick people at the same time and it also keeps doctors and nurses from having to make a terrible choice about which patients receive care and which patients do not,” she said.
“It is also a way to buy time for new treatments, medicines and vaccines that will allow us to fight COVID-19 and recover from it.”

She added, “There is no one size fits all approach. It’s impossible to apply the same measures from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego; however, countries need to keep that in mind. They need to ensure that many of our countries in the region who have already implemented community-wide social distancing, that they are allowing health services to operate within the capacity.

This is encouraging but it must be sustained over a period of time for it to be effective.”

Etienne said economic activity could only return in full swing when people feel safe and confident that their governments are doing all they can to protect them and their loved ones.

“I urge the leadership in our region to earn this confidence by being rigorous, evidence-driven and transparent in the fight against this pandemic. Only by implementing the interventions required for each setting guided by science and solidarity, can we slow down and ultimately break the spread of COVID-19 in our region. And then together within and across the countries, we can safely get back on our feet,” she said in the virtual press conference.

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