As we head into the festive season and cases of the new variant of Covid-19, Omicron, which is highly transmissible, begin to rise globally, the Leader of the Opposition, Honourable Allen Chastanet, is sounding the alarm that Saint Lucia must prepare for possible cases here at home.
“At this time the Government and the Covid-19 Command Centre must respond with a deep sense of urgency and immediately review all our procedures and the readiness of our health system to respond to this new variant of Covid-19,” stated Chastanet. “We must do all within our power to prevent a spread, detect this early and respond with stringent protocols to protect the population, our health and all frontline workers. We need additional public education, stringent monitoring and ensure we are at our optimum in terms of testing and our health response.”
Former Prime Minister Chastanet added that since coming into office the SLP Government has yet to present a new approach to managing the pandemic and has simply copied the initiatives of the United Workers Party Government.
“The SLP has done exactly what we were doing, despite all their baseless criticisms. They simply changed the name of the Command Centre and changed from a curfew to ‘confinement’; which is the same thing. They have come up with nothing new and in fact failed miserably to the point that healthcare workers feel completely unsupported. With this new Covid-19 strain and given the lack of quarantine facilities, we are going to require much more stringent protocols. What are those protocols going to entail? These are the discussions we need to have. It is already very late in the day because people have made travel plans for December and we know home quarantining does not work. How will the situation be managed?”
The Opposition Leader noted that Global concerns are increasing as the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that Omicron has several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves, how easily it spreads or the severity of illness.
“Considering what we already know, I expect to see the Government acting with immediacy,” the Opposition Leader went on. “We need an emergency meeting to discuss and put a plan to increase public health and medical capacities in order to possibly manage increased cases. We need to strengthen and step up our Vaccination program. We are in jeopardy of having our borders being shut down for us when other countries begin to look at our vaccination rate as a measure of whether we will be allowed into their countries. We need a clear protocol for this Christmas.”
The United Workers Party continues to encourage the population to physical distance from others, wear a mask, avoid poorly ventilated spaces, keep hands clean and get vaccinated.