As the Department of Health and Wellness battles the COVID-19 pandemic and in-country spread of the virus, health officials say it is not without its challenges.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George said that one such challenge is the illegal entry of persons into the country which has been extremely difficult to manage, and has placed health officials in a peculiar dilemma.
“Those have been very difficult to manage. Our contact tracing team gets a lot of information on those but it is a very ticklish situation given that it’s persons family members. We as health professionals don’t report this information as it is provided in confidence, and it’s a very sensitive one because it’s family members who come in and out due to economic constraints, although illegal. So this has been difficult to manage and control,” she said.
Saint Lucia, in light of this has been collaborating with the French government to protect the country’s borders.
Mr. Marc Mertillo, the Charge d’Affairs of the Embassy of France said France and Saint Lucia are actively collaborating on security matters.
“In the current context of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was decided a few weeks ago through mutual agreement, to strengthen maritime cooperation by placing French Navy Vessels in the territorial waters between the two islands to intercept any attempt at illegal entry into any of the islands. These vessels are coordinating with the competent authorities in Saint Lucia, and in particular the Police Marine Unit.”