Ernest Hilaire Asks: Why The Deceit About COVID?

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Castries South MP, Dr. Ernest Hilaire has accused the Allen Chastanet administration of seeking to score cheap political points, over Saint Lucia’s COVID-19 world ranking and status with the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The accusation came in a post last week on Dr. Hilaire’s official Fecebook page.

The post is reproduced below:

In recent days, I have read comments, advertisments and exaggerations being made by the Government and its surrogates about Saint Lucia’s world ranking for COVID management and the CDC ranking. It is being claimed that Saint Lucia is ranked No.2 in the world for managing the COVID pandemic. It is also suggested that the CDC now ranks Saint Lucia among the best 8 countries in the world.

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This is so pathetic and low. Why would a Government stoop to such low levels to seek to engage in a competition on a public health issue. Who does that? While you are free to say to the world that you have managed the pandemic very well, it should never be about gloating at the expense of our fellow brothers and sisters of the Caribbean and other countries. It is like saying to the world, do not go to Dominica because they had a devastating fatal hurricane. A caring Government would never promote its Country while gloating about the misfortunes of other countries. When it comes to issues of public health and disasters, we have to be sensitive and show empathy and not seek to mislead and distort the reality.

Imagine if a Government would lie about such a simple thing to get enhanced ratings then what would they do for the important things about COVID.

Let us look at the CDC rankings.

The CDC has a number of categories to guide Americans when deciding to travel.

There is a category described as ‘no data available’ which means that these countries have not reported any COVID DATA and the CDC does not know what is the COVID risk. Accordingly, the CDC advises Americans not to undertake any non-essential travel to these countries.

There is also at Level Three category – ‘COVID Risk very High’ for countries where travellers are asked to avoid any non-essential travel. Persons who travel to some of these countries within the last 14 days are prohibited from entering the US.

Then there is Level Two – ‘COVID Risk is moderate’ where older people and people at any age with underlying illness or at risk of severe illness should avoid any non-essential travel.

Then there is Level One – ‘COVID Risk is low’ where ‘CDC recommends that older adults, people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions, and others at increased risk for severe illness talk to their healthcare providers before traveling to these countries’. There are 8 countries listed of which Saint Lucia is one.

Then there is ‘No Travel Health Notice – COVID Risk very Low’. The CDC basically says anyone is free to travel to these countries once necessary precautions are taken.There are 22 countries listed. Yes, 22. Of which 5 are from the Caribbean – Anguilla, BVI, Dominica, Grenada and St.Kitts and Nevis. If you had to compare and rank, surely these countries are better ranked than Saint Lucia. But only if you had to rank.

Now from the above, how does that make Saint Lucia no. 2 for COVID management in the world? Does that mean the CDC ranks us among the best 8 in the world? More importantly, why does the Government and Ministers at this time think it is necessary to mislead the people of Saint Lucia about COVID management and CDC rankings. What is the Government hiding from us?

Why not give us an update on the elderly person with no travel history who tested positive? What about the patient in quarantine who was found unresponsive in the room? What about the hotel management of its guests who are effectively persons in quarantine? What about assistance to parents on the reopening of school? What about the assistance to the farmers and fishers? And the self-employed? And will the NIC assistance be extended for another three months?

It is distasteful for the Government to distort information on such a critical public health issue such as COVID for cheap political points.

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

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