PM: PREMATURELY REOPENING ST. KITTS-NEVIS’ BORDERS TO NON-ESSENTIAL TRAFFIC “WOULD PUT AT RISK ALL OUR COLLECTIVE EFFORTS TO DATE AND BRING MUCH PAIN”

May 11th, 2020
While explaining why there is no rush to reopen St. Kitts and Nevis’ borders to non-essential traffic, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said last Saturday on WINN (98.9) FM’s Inside the News that, “Opening our borders prematurely would put at risk all our collective efforts to date and will bring much pain.”

Speaking two weeks ago on the Saturday, April 25th edition of Inside the News, Prime Minister Harris said, “There are no immediate plans to unlock our borders other than in the measured way that we have allowed them to operate.”

For instance, cargo flights, cargo ships, commercial courier flights, emergency medical flights and emergency flights approved by the Air Ports Authorities are being permitted entry (see SR&O No. 16 of 2020, Regulation 11, Section 2) into St. Kitts and Nevis.

Speaking again on the matter last Saturday, May 9th during his seventh consecutive appearance on WINN (98.9) FM’s Inside the News, the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis indicated that his administration’s cautious approach is being guided by the advice of medical professionals.

“At this particular moment in time, the medical advice and all the professional advice we have is that our borders should remain closed for the foreseeable future,” the Prime Minister said.

“When we see the deaths that are taking place – and the count keeps increasing – in New York, in New Jersey, in Florida and elsewhere in the United States of America and in the United Kingdom, I could appreciate why people would quickly understand the need for our borders to be closed and that we should not rush to open them,” Prime Minister Harris added, while noting that confirmed coronavirus cases in St. Kitts and Nevis “by and large have been imported.”

The Prime Minister further stated that, “One of the challenges of the pandemic for all countries has been not to overwhelm the health system.  When the health system is overwhelmed, more persons would as a consequence die.”

So far in St. Kitts and Nevis, there have been no coronavirus-related hospitalizations and no deaths from the virus.  Moreover, as at 3:00pm Sunday, May 10th, all but one of the 15 persons who had been diagnosed with the coronavirus have since recovered.

“Today, the health sector is stronger and better than it was [pre-COVID-19],” the Prime Minister said last Saturday, explaining that the past several months in St. Kitts and Nevis have been focused wisely on carrying out an effective public education programme and strengthening the country’s health facilities.