Media Release: Update on COVID-19 efforts



by Ministry of Health

TOURISM SECTOR ANTICIPATES ENTRY OF APPROVED COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS IN COMING WEEKS.

The Department of Health and Wellness continues to play an integral role in protecting the well-being of our citizens.

One of the key actions taken at the commencement of in-country cases of COVID-19 was the closure of our national borders to routine travel. However, even within these restrictions, the Department of Health and Wellness has executed discretion to grant permission for the repatriation of 795 Saint Lucian nationals who were faced with challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic due to global travel restrictions.

In addition, in keeping with Statutory Instrument No. 63 of 2020, the Office of the Chief Medical Officer approved eight hundred and eighty two (882) applications for entry which were granted for medical reasons including return to country following surgery, death in families and the return of students as well as to provide urgent support needed in country.



Fifty applications were approved in March, 28 in April, 450 in May, and thus far, for the month of June, 354 applications have been approved. The arrival of these individuals is permitted through the written authorization by the Chief Medical Officer.

The Department has also taken steps to facilitate the option of home quarantine in situations where individuals have health complications, small children, are unable to function independently and other sensitive situations. The applicants for this discretionary accommodation must meet the necessary requirements including inspection of homes by health officials prior to approval.



With the tourism sector anticipating the entry of approved commercial flights in the weeks ahead, the Department of Health has been proactively engaging sub-sectors on the various protocols that should be observed as we endeavour to mitigate any possible spread of COVID-19 into our communities. Our professionals at the ports of entry have undergone the necessary training required and are equipped and prepared to handle incoming and outgoing travelers. The Department of Health also anticipates the complete refurbishment of the respiratory hospital by the end of June 2020 which will further aid ongoing efforts to manage the national response to the virus.

As the department responsible for the health and wellness of all, no effort shall be spared to ensure that at every juncture there is consultation with all involved and that the established protocols serve as an added layer of protection for all concerned.



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