BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, March 18, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – As of today, March 18, 2020, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has not recorded any confirmed cases of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), despite the fact that at least 150 countries and territories worldwide, including several neighbouring islands, have been affected by the disease.
Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said this was not by chance, but rather as a result of early and effective planning, as well as the hard work and commitment of the COVID-19 National Working Group and the health practitioners in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Very early we started working a plan—a plan to protect the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and to keep you safe for as long as we could. That is why way back in January the CMO [Chief Medical Officer] became activated. 21st of December, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) spoke to an emergency in the health sector with respect to corona. By January, patriotic civil servants understood their role to forecast, to predict, to prepare and to plan for the country and they started doing their work,” Prime Minister Harris said at Tuesday (March 17) evening’s special town hall meeting that focused on the Federation’s response to the COVID-19 virus.
The COVID-19 National Working Group is led by Mr. Abdias Samuel, National Disaster Coordinator, and consists of key representatives of the relevant ministries and departments, including the Chief Medical Officer, Chief Immigration Officer, Comptroller of Customs, along with representatives from the St. Kitts & Nevis Defense Force and the Royal St. Christopher & Nevis Police Force.
While the government continues to do its part to protect its citizens, Prime Minister Harris is encouraging persons to adopt simple hygienic practices and to eat more fruits and vegetables to boost one’s immune system “so that you may protect yourselves and be among the 80 percent of people who, when the virus comes, they will have a mild reaction to it.”
To protect its borders, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis issued travel advisories for persons travelling from China, Italy, Iran, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom (UK), France, Germany and Spain.
Persons intending to travel from these aforementioned destinations are advised not to travel to St. Kitts and Nevis at this time. In the event that such travelers arrive in our Federation they will be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period following screening at the port of entry.
A set of protocols is also in place at the Joseph N. France General Hospital to respond in the likelihood of a confirmed COVID-19 case in St. Kitts and Nevis. A health emergency operating center has been set up in the conference room at the hospital. Furthermore, an infection and prevention control guidance manual has been produced by the Ministry of Health that addresses every aspect if a COVID-19 case reaches the hospital.