The recent decision taken by the Government of St Lucia to restrict travel from Ebola-affected countries is one that seeks to reduce any chances of the deadly virus entering the island and protecting the citizenry, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony has said.
He added that St. Lucia does not have the capacity unlike larger countries, where they can at least manage any such crises.
“Therefore it is necessary that we take early precautions, not only in terms of preparing our health care professionals, but also ensuring that we minimise the possibility that we can be an affected country,” he said.
Given the island’s heavy dependence on tourism, Dr. Anthony explained that St. Lucia cannot afford any chances of the Ebola virus entering these shores.
The prime minister remarked that the consequences will not only be devastating to the tourism sector, but the entire population.
“Our own people need and require protection and I regret that we have to take that decision, but we had no choice based on the circumstances,” he asserted.
The restriction will be temporary. The prime minister said once the situation is brought under control and word has been given by the World Health Organisation (WHO) then government will consider lifting those restrictions.
St. Lucia has already started training a number of health care professionals to respond to any possible treats of Ebola entering the island.
The island’s airports, seaports and other ports of entry have been equipped with staff and resources to respond if the need arises.
Neighbouring St. Vincent and the Grenadines has also placed restrictions on nationals from Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Guinea entering the island.