Opposition Leader calls on government to act urgently to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19 virus
The Parliamentary Opposition in St Kitts and Nevis has expressed concern that the twin-island federation was not named among Caribbean countries that have the capacity to detect, contain and manage cases of the coronavirus – COVID-19, were the virus to reach its shores.
A statement issued Monday from the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, the Rt Hon Dr Denzil L Douglas noted that this unfortunate fact was confirmed Sunday during a press conference held after an emergency meeting between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government and Ministers of Health in Barbados to agree on a regional protocol establishing minimum standards for dealing with the COVID-19 virus.
The statement noted that for the last few weeks the Parliamentary Opposition has indicated a willingness to be part of national consultations on this issue and has appealed to the Timothy Harris administration to take a bi-partisan approach.
“We have also made the recommendation that the government of St Kitts and Nevis seeks the assistance of Cuba as a source to medical specialists with expertise in acute respiratory diseases,” said the statement.
“In St. Kitts and Nevis we cannot wait until the virus reaches our shores to begin to take action. We urge the Government of our Federation to act urgently and pre-emptively to minimize the risk of the spread of the virus among our people and of the endangerment of our nationals and residents. Specifically, we urge the Government to move expeditiously to develop and publish a contingency plan, with provisions for the immediate establishment of quarantine facilities, arrangements for the speedy testing of suspected cases, the immediate commencement of a public information and education programme and all other activities deemed necessary to prevent or contain the spread of the virus in our Federation,” a statement said.
The statement further noted recent media reports have confirmed that cases of COVID-19 coronavirus have been confirmed in the Latin American and Caribbean countries of the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Ecuador and St. Barth’s.
“I beg that we do not treat this matter as a political issue. The risk to our nation is far too great to allow politics to undermine our efforts to contain the spread of the virus. As Leader of the Opposition of St. Kitts and Nevis and as a medical doctor I stand ready to assist in any way possible and to make available to the Government the resources of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party if called upon to do so,” said Dr Douglas.