(SNO) – Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has said he has given the go ahead for the necessary equipment to test the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Saint Lucia.
The island was among countries in the region which the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said did not have the capacity to test for the infamous virus which originated in China and has swept the globe, even reaching here in the Caribbean.
At an emergency meeting with The National Emergency Management Advisory Committee (NEMAC) last Friday, the Prime Minister said currently Saint Lucia does not have the ability to test for the virus but it appears that may soon be a thing of the past.
“I have given the CMO (Chief Medical Officer) and the Ministry of Health the green light to proceed to be able to bring equipment here that we can do that,” he stated.
According to Chastanet, there are two ways of testing for the virus namely singular testing and a type of machine that can process bigger numbers.
“So, I think we are attempting to be able to do both things at this point,” he stated.
He did not give a timeline on when the equipment will arrive on the island.
He also said that necessary support is being given to front line workers, such as nurses, fire service personnel and police officers.
“Is to make sure that we give them and equip them with the things to give them the confidence for them to be able to do their jobs,” he explained. “And one, is to explain to them what their potential exposure is and how we are going to facilitate it. That is why considering moving to OKEU is a capacity issue because it means it frees up Victory (Hospital) to be a respiratory center.”