St. Vincent PM says some regional countries panicking in face of coronavirus

By SNO Staff

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Dr. Ralph Gonsalves

(SNO) – Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, has said that it appears some regional countries are panicking in the face of the coronavirus, saying that not every case should be assumed to be the dreaded disease.

He was defending his country’s decision to allow the cruise ship, Aida Perla, to dock in Kingstown on Friday although there were passengers who, he said, had “some kind of virus” on board.

The same ship was denied entry to Saint Lucia on Saturday and later on Sunday by Dominica after it was revealed that a number of passengers were suffering from upper respiratory tract infections.

Gonsalves told WE FM in St. Vincent that a press conference to address the virus, which was to be held at 10:00 am on Monday, was pushed back to 1:00 pm because health minister, Senator Luke Brown and his staff, have to attend a Skype meeting with regional health official on the matter.

“I think the meeting is being held to make sure everybody in the region acts consistently,” he stated. “Because some countries have been panicking.”

According to Gonsalves, there were 23 people on board the ship “who had some kind of virus” but his country “acted sensibly with the protocols and don’t panic.”

He said those people were crew member and some passengers.

“But they were isolated on the ship,” he explained.

Gonsalves said those in isolation remained so while the ship was in St. Vincent.

“Port Authority simply contacted, as we will always, the public health, the Chief Medical Officer, Medical Officer of Health, all the entities involved and dealt with that problem, so that you allow those who wanted to come off could come off but those who had to be isolated were isolated on the ship,” he stated.

He added,”Look there are some protocols which have been laid down by WHO (World Health Organization), PAHO (Pan American Health Organization), CARPHA (Caribbean Public Health Agency) and which we apply. It’s not every incident that you assume is the coronavirus.”

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