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  • Writer's pictureClara

More Cruise Ship Workers Return Home

Monday, May 25, 2020

Last Saturday the World Health Organization reported a total of 5, 103, 006 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, with 333, 401 deaths. Within the region of the Americas a total 2,282,488 confirmed cases were recorded.

Saint Lucia continues to record no additional confirmed cases of COVID-19. On May 22, 2020 a batch of 31 tests conducted were all negative. This brings our total of national testing to date to 898 tests. Saturday, March 21 is the twentieth consecutive day since we have recorded a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Last weekend the Department of Health and Wellness received 151 Saint Lucians to be repatriated. Fifty nine were cruise ship workers on the Disney Fantasy, 73 from the Royal Vision of the Seas, and 19 were nationals repatriated from Canada and Barbados. The nationals were received and placed into quarantine for a period of 14 days as per the country’s established protocol.

Quarantine is necessary for persons who are well, with no symptoms of ill-health, but who may have been exposed to a communicable disease. It restricts the movement of healthy people who may develop a disease after possible exposure to an infectious agent, in this context this agent can be COVID-19. Quarantine requires people to remain in a designated location for a specific period of time. Active monitoring by health care specialists, including temperature checks and assessment of respiratory symptoms, are done routinely for the entire quarantine period.

As part of the national COVID-19 response, quarantine centers have been set up in Saint Lucia using various hotels to facilitate the large numbers of returning nationals through the repatriation process as well as any non-nationals that may arrive in country. Institutional quarantine remains the standard for Saint Lucia. However in certain cases based on assessments home quarantine is facilitated.

Isolation on the other hand is necessary for people who are sick, and it allows for the separation of people who are sick from those who are well. It restricts the movement of people with an infectious disease to stop the spread of illness. It allows for appropriate treatment in a healthcare type setting.

International travel has been restricted from March 24, 2020 under Statutory Instrument No.43 or 2020 for the purposes of preventing, controlling and suppressing the spread of COVID-19. This restriction does not apply to outgoing flights or outgoing ships, cargo or cargo ships, commercial courier flights, emergency medical flights and emergency flights approved by the Civil Aviation Authority. The instrument allows for exceptions with the written approval by the competent authority.

During this period, exceptions have been made in the case of returning nationals from Martinique, and prisoners to be repatriated, for medical and other urgent reasons and in this case for more cruise workers. The Ministry of External Affairs is working with Ambassadors to facilitate the safe return of nationals. This however is done ensuring that quarantine capacity is maintained.

The Department of Health and Wellness once again asks the public to work with us to reduce the impact of COVID-19. Persons coming need to abide by quarantine protocols. We ask that relatives support their loved ones in quarantine by encouraging their adherence to the requirements of quarantine. On another note, if you are aware of anyone coming in by unofficial means, do alert the authorities and if you are placed in quarantine, please stay there. These measures are to keep all of us all safe.

The Department of Health and Wellness will continue providing regular updates on COVID-19.

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