BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, March 09, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – As of Sunday (March 08) afternoon, there were no reported cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
However, with 105,523 persons diagnosed with this new virus in 101 reported countries, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris is urging citizens and residents to exercise precautions and take the necessary sanitary and hygienic measures to safeguard against contracting the virus.
Prime Minister Harris noted that given the spread of the new virus, it is highly likely that it will reach the shores of St. Kitts and Nevis, but noted that, “Our government has therefore been on high alert and the CMO has assured that we are taking every precaution and making all necessary preparations to respond, and contain the spread of the virus.”
Dr. Harris implored all citizens and residents to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves, their families, communities and the Federation.
“We must all accept our individual responsibility for: (1) boosting our immune system and (2) helping to curb the potential spread of this coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We can boost our immune system by eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking adequate water, getting enough rest, exercising and taking multivitamins/supplements. The best defense against COVID-19 is practicing good hand hygiene,” Prime Minister Harris said in a national address on the disease which has, since its discovery in December 2019 in China, spread to countries and regions including Europe, Africa, and the Americas.
The Ministry of Health continues to inform and update the public about COVID-19. Additionally, there are on-going training sessions for the medical and public health response teams.
Prime Minister Harris also made mention of the establishment of a ‘COVID-19 National Working Group’ as part of national response mechanism.
“I wish to commend the group for its excellent work to date. Mr. Abdias Samuel, National Disaster Coordinator, chairs this working group and it 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. The Working Group was instrumental in strengthening surveillance at all the ports of entry in the Federation, and in conducting a successful simulation exercise to test the Alert and Communication Systems of our national response mechanism,” the prime minister added.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the majority of persons with COVID-19 are adults over 20 years of age, noting that the disease is not prevalent among children.
It added that 80 percent of persons affected by the disease, experience mild illness and recover without complications. However, 20 percent of persons experience severe illness and require hospitalization.
Older adults with underlying chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma are at risk for severe illness, the WHO said.