(PRESS RELEASE) – On Thursday, January 30, 2020, during the second meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the World Health Organization Director-General under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus COVID-19 in the People’s Republic of China, the committee agreed that the outbreak now meets the criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
The WHO indicated that further international exportation of cases is expected and advised all countries to ensure preparation for containment, which includes prevention measures, active surveillance, early detection, isolation, case management and contact tracing.
In an effort to restrict the likelihood of the introduction of COVID-19 into the Saint Lucian population, the Department of Health and Wellness on February 4, 2020 put in place travel restrictions on non-nationals from Mainland China with a travel history within the last 14 days from Mainland China, (whether in- transit or originating).
The Department of Health and Wellness of Saint Lucia has noted an escalation in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases internationally as well as the spread to twenty nine (29) countries outside of China, including 23 deaths.
As a result the Department of Health and Wellness recommends and extension of the travel restrictions to Hong Kong (currently reporting 74 confirmed cases and 2 deaths) as well as the Republic of Korea (763 confirmed cases, 7 deaths), Japan (144 confirmed cases, 1 death), Italy (124 confirmed cases, 2 deaths) and Singapore (89 confirmed cases) effective Wednesday, February 26 at 12 a.m.
Any national returning to Saint Lucia with a travel history to any countries mentioned above will be quarantined for 14 days.
The Department of Health and Wellness also discourages all non-essential travel to the places listed above.
The Government of Saint Lucia commends the Chinese government authorities in their efforts to manage and contain the outbreak and will continue working to strengthen the local capacities against this global threat.