NewsHas the Science been Replaced by Economics?

St. Lucia News OnlineJuly 1, 202213465 min

That’s a question on many minds following news this week that the Gros Islet Street Party will return next month-end, just after the Health Ministry urged citizens not to take too much comfort from lowering numbers and to continue observing the existing mass crowd, social distancing and mass wearing COVID-19 protocols.

On March 14, the Health Ministry welcomed the statistical indicators that the spread and impact of Covid-19 was declining: the daily infection rate was down to 4.7 per 100,000, and the transmission rate was under 1.0, at 0.5, an indication that the spread of the virus is declining.

However, the ministry has said that it “continues to monitor the development of rising cases of the highly-transmissible Omicron sub-variant BA.2 in some countries.

The ministry further advised that Saint Lucians should continue to observe existing protocols as COVID-19 “continues to be a threat.”
The existing protocols are to avoid large crowds and crowded areas and ensure safe physical distancing for face-to-face meetings and other activities.

Citizens are also advised to “ensure the protocols are maintained on minibusses…” (as well as at “workplaces and sectors, gyms, hardware stores, supermarkets and recreational facilities.”)

Last week, the Prime Minister, Minister of Health and Chief Medical Officer (CMO) all echoed the sentiments of the Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Dr. Clarissa Etienne, that despite lowering numbers, governments should not hurry to lift protocols or invite complacency, but should instead encourage observance of working protocols and more vaccination.

But on Tuesday March 15, Gros Islet MP Kenson Casimir, the Minister for Youth & Sports, publicly announced his support for a decision by organizers to resume the usually crowded street party on Friday, April 29.

According to an online press report this week, Minister Casimir “met with several vendors who have been negatively impacted by the suspension of the activity, to discuss the return of the event.”

The minister reported after a meeting with vendors that he was “happy to announce that we have collectively decided that the return of the biggest street party in Saint Lucia is slated for Friday, April 29, 2022.”

The return of Gros Islet Street Party, touted as one of Saint Lucia’s main tourist attractions and activities, has the support of the nation’s tourism authorities, who are also promoting a mass crowd “bacchanal” carnival event for vaccinated persons only in July.

The Gros Islet MP and vendors’ decision and the Vax-Mas plans fly in the face of the advice of the CMO, Minister of Health, the Prime Minister and the PAHO Director.

The question, therefore, is the decision to bring back the Gros Islet Street Party and the Vax- Mas, a case of economics driving the country’s response to Covid-19, never mind the advice coming from medical experts? Should mini-bus drivers feel obligated to observe existing protocols, while others are able to ignore them for economic reasons?

St. Lucia News Online

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