Over 100 Cuban doctors and nurses are expected here by weekend to join the battle against the spread of COVID-19, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has announced.
In a nationwide address Monday night, Chastanet disclosed that the initiative had been arranged by the Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs here and the Cuban Ambassador to Saint Lucia.
The Saint Lucia Prime Minister expressed his deep gratitude to the Cubans and to the Premier and government of the Cayman Islands.
He said the Cayman Islands had offered a plane to fly the Cubans directly to Saint Lucia.
Chastanet told the nation that he could not offer enough thanks to the Cayman Premier and his administration for what he described as ‘this incredible gesture’.
He explained that because of Coronavirus, the government had to bring forward the date to move into the Owen King European Union Hospital (OKEUH).
Disclosing why, the PM said his administration recognized there was need for a dedicated hospital to deal with the ‘respiratory crisis’ that would ensue should there be a community outbreak of COVID-19 in Saint Lucia.
“The decision was ‘Let’s move into OKEU so that OKEU can continue to provide Saint Lucians with their basic health care needs which have not gone away, and that we would now convert Victoria Hospital into a respiratory hospital,’” Chastanet told the nation.
He said that accommodation has already been arranged for the Cuban doctors and nurses who are expected here shortly
“While they will be working both at the OKEU and also Victoria Hospital, they will be helping us get the respiratory hospital up and running as quickly as possible,” the PM explained.
He described the assistance that the Cubans will give as a huge reprieve for the government, staff of the Ministry of Health and all the doctors and nurses here because they are getting manpower resources to assist them.
According to Chastanet, the arrival of the Cubans will go a long way in helping this country prepare for a community outbreak of Coronavirus.
Earlier this week in a press release, the Ministry of Health and Wellness informed the public that the full transition of Victoria Hospital to the OKEUH commences on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.