Tourism Minister responds to Zika cases

Tourism Minister, Lorne Throphilus, has said that the likely impact of the Zika confirmation on this country’s vital tourism industry is difficult to predict.

Speaking exclusively to the Times, Theophilus noted that the Zika virus has been reported almost all over the world.

“I think that what we need to do once our visitors to our shores are satisfied that our health services are doing all that is possible to contain it, is continue to market our destination and hope that the strength of our destination overrides the concern associated with the virus,” the Tourism Minister told the Times.

He noted that Saint Lucia is probably the last Island in the Caribbean where the Zika virus has penetrated.

The Tourism Minister told the Times that this country has been preparing for quite some time, with the result that systems are in place.

“We are very confident that the health authorities are in apposition to manage it in the same way that they managed other threats that have come up over the past year,” Theophilus declared.

He said:

“We are holding true to the fact that our health authorities are in a position to deal with it and deal with it quite effectively.”

According to the Tourism Minister, while any virus or disease is something that all Saint Lucians and all people should be concerned about, they should be comforted by the fact that the local health authorities are prepared to deal with the situation.

Theophilus explained that just this morning he was watching the news which indicated that Miami has more cases of the Zika virus than any other part of the United States – 89 and counting.

Since the Times broke news last night that Saint Lucia had recorded its first two confirmed cases of the Zika virus, the Ministry of Health this morning summoned an “urgent” news conference that corroborated the Times story.