NewsChastanet Blames Alcohol For Spike in COVID-19 Cases

St. Lucia News OnlineJuly 1, 202224904 min

Leader of the Opposition, Allen Chastanet, has a new prescription to curb the nation’s current Fifth COVID Wave: Ban alcohol sales!

Commenting on his Facebook Page on what he claims is the Philip J. Pierre administration’s failure to tackle the current wave of increased infections effectively, the former Prime Minister said: “If there’s too high of an infection rate, you know it’s the curfew and alcohol.”

He says he believes “access to alcohol contributes to the willingness of people to gather in crowds” and therefore “the prohibition of mass crowd events is insufficient, without banning liquor sales.”

The current COVID-19 protocols – effected over the Christmas and New year holidays and in effect until February 4, 2022 — include a ban on mass crowd events, sporting activities and social events with more than 35 people.

The current confinement times are 10 pm to 4 am from Monday to Thursday, 9 pm to 4 am on Fridays and Saturdays and from 6 pm to 4 am on Sundays.

Chastanet, under whose watch the first four waves hit Saint Lucia’s shores, did implement a brief alcohol ban.
But with sales allowed only at gas stations and supermarkets, rum shop proprietors and their clients found creative ways of overcoming the selective concession.

Besides, there’s no empirical evidence that a partial alcohol ban had kept COVID numbers low. In fact, subsequent waves brought with it higher levels of infections.

Since the commencement of the fifth wave on December 16, 2021, health officials have blamed the highly-contagious Omicron variant, though not officially detected — for the nearly 6,000 cases registered at an average of 161 cases daily.

There are currently over 4,000 active cases and early signs are that the most recent figures suggest a leveling -off of the number of infections.

Rum shop proprietors island-wide and proprietors of restaurants have been accused of disregarding social distance, mask and mass crowd protocols and many have been blamed for the fifth wave peaking after the recent holidays.

The government has also been accused of dropping-the-ball by relaxing recent holiday protocols to allow for social gatherings of over 35 persons at home.

However, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre and the nation’s health authorities continue to insist that the best way to curb the increase is not by enforcement but persuasion and are urging citizens who haven’t, to ‘Get Vaccinated’, because it’s unvaccinated who are most at risk of hospitalization and death if they become infected with the virus.

St. Lucia News Online

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