Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has again indicated that the issue of a national COVID-19 shutdown is one of the most difficult confronting him.
“It is one of the most difficult questions I have to continuously ask myself as Prime Minister,” he disclosed earlier this week.
Chastanet made the comments on Monday while a guest on ‘Da Segment’ aired by Hot 7 Television.
“We know if we did in fact shut down, we could probably rid ourselves of COVID here much quicker,” he told programme hosts – Dhirv and Noah, when the matter of a national shutdown was raised.
However according to the PM, the cost of a shutdown has to be considered.
“I don’t know if we can afford it, meaning that persons not being able to go to work, people not being able to sell things – it’s going to be very difficult,” Chastanet explained.
He said what is known is if Saint Lucians observe some very simple protocols such as wearing masks, social distancing an hand sanitising , businesses can be kept open and the Island can be rid of COVID-19.
“That’s within our power,” Chastanet asserted.
“I don’t get it when people say to me they care about Saint Lucians, they care about Saint Lucia, they love their neighbours, they love their family – if they did, just do this, that’s all,” he declared.
“In a couple of weeks this thing will be rid and sadly – the back door,” he observed.
Chastanet recalled that Saint Lucia has so far recorded two deaths due to COVID-19 and an increase in cases of the virus.
But he lamented that people are still entering this country through the ‘back door.’
“Somehow, there are persons who think they’re immune – no problems, it’s okay. They make an excuse for it, not realising how quickly it can come to their front door, meaning to their family members and affect them,” the PM explained.
He noted that such actions will be to everyone’s detriment.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George, announced Thursday that the Ministry of Health had received confirmation of 20 new cases of COVID-19, among them, members of the crew of a visiting cargo ship.
This brings the total number of cases diagnosed in country to date to 203.
Headline photo caption: File photo of Prime Minister Allen Chastanet