(St. Lucia News Online) — Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has addressed concerns about his planned phased reopening of Saint Lucia.
Chastanet said although the current partial shutdown expires on April 26, 2020, this does not mean that the country will automatically be reopened.
He made those remarks on his official Facebook page on Thursday as persons in political circles argue that he is gambling with the lives of Saint Lucians in light of the fact that the World Health Organization has declared that the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet reached its peak in the Caribbean.
Saint Lucia has recorded 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases and no deaths. Of the 15, health authorities said 11 have recovered.
However, facing mounting criticism against his “phased reopening” plan, Prime Minister Chastanet appears to have toned down a bit on his optimism.
“Whilst we are hoping to announce a phased reopening after this date, there are still several other factors which we must take into consideration before this is done. One of these will obviously be, whether any new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded on the island, as well as the advice and recommendations given by the chief medical officer and officials from the Ministry of Health,” he said.
The prime minister went on to say that he understands that many Saint Lucians are restless, however, “we must also understand that we have to be patient given that these are not normal times”.
“We definitely do not want a situation where we reopen the country, then become forced to shut down once again due to a reemergence of COVID-19 infections,” he noted.
“Let us continue to practice social distancing, frequent sanitation and remaining home when we feel sick. The more we continue to follow these protocols, the sooner we will be able to get back to some form of normalcy,” he added.