Over 100 Saint Lucia bus drivers who ply the Castries to Vieux Fort (2H) route are to be tested for COVID-19, after one of their colleagues was found to be positive, it has been disclosed.
The disclosure has come from the President of the National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT), Godfrey Ferdinand.
He told St Lucia Times that the NCOPT has been in contact with Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George who Saturday announced that a 48 year old male was the Island’s 29th COVID-19 case.
According to the President of the NCOPT, two testing clinics have been set up at the La Clery Health Centre starting at 8.00 am on Sunday, October 11, for drivers living in the North and starting at the same time at the Vieux Fort Health Centre for 2H route drivers in the South.
He expressed the hope that the contact tracing will turn up no infection as has been the case with one of the Island’s COVID-19 cases who was in his seventies.
The NCOPT President reiterated his organisation’s position that protocols should be adhered to.
However he noted that one of the areas of concern has been the way legislation was written regarding capacity and masks.
“We have been in consultation with the Ministry of Health with reference to how we tighten the legislation to make it mandatory for bus operators and passengers to wear their masks,” Ferdinand explained.
“I would like it to be either a ticketable or an arrestable offence,” he recalled having said in the past.
But he observed that the legislation suggests the bus operator should be held responsible if a passenger does not wear a mask.
According to Ferdinand, this has been a bone of contention.
He stated that under the new COVID-19 Protection & Control bill there are penalties for not wearing a mask.
” I am in favour of the bill in terms of charging individuals, but I do not think that the driver should be be liable for a passenger not wearing their mask,” the NCOPT official told St Lucia Times.