January 21 2021
531 ACTIVE COVID 19 CASES
There are now five hundred and thirty-one active cases of COVID 19 in St Vincent and the Grenadines St. Vincent and the Grenadines at January 20th when 53 fifty-three (53) new COVID-19 cases were confirmed.
A release from the National Emergency Management Organisation NEMO says that two cases are non-nationals who arrived from the USA with negative RT-PCR tests and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. All of the other cases are nationals detected during contact tracing, testing at flu clinics and targeted screening. The majority of the active cases are linked to various clusters. One hundred and twenty-two (122) persons have recovered, and two (2) persons with COVID-19 have died.
Six hundred and fifty-five (655) cases of COVID-19 have been reported in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since March 2020. All positive cases will remain isolated until cleared. The Molecular Laboratory Unit is once again experiencing delays in the processing and reporting of results for RT-PCR samples due to a significant back log. Persons awaiting results are asked to remain in quarantine and call the health care facility in their district responsible for COVID-19 services.
Prime Minister Dr Hon ralph Gonsalves while speaking on radio this week said that according to the advice of the relevant health officials here a number of factors combined are responsible for the spike in positive COVID 19 cases here.
Dr Gonsalves again implored citizens to remain calm and focused and also to comply with the appropriate measures in order to minimize the spread of the disease. PM Gonsalves in an address to the nation on Monday night called for persons drop all the political or personal arguments about the wearing of masks.
NIS TAKE MEASURES TO SAFEGUARD PENSIONERS
The National Insurance Services, NIS is taking steps to safeguard the welfare of its Pensioners, amidst the ongoing Covid 19 Pandemic.
According to local reports The NIS has embarked on a Financial Inclusion Drive for Pensioners, and is encouraging its Pensioners who receive payment via cheque, to submit their Banking and Credit Union information, to facilitate direct payment to their accounts.
The aim is to ensure that the Pensioners have less interaction at the NIS Office. Certain provisions are also being made for Pensioners who do not have an Account at a Financial Institution.
NATIONAL ACCREDATION BOARD AND CANQATE TO PRESENT 3RD SERIES OF LECTURES
The National Accreditation Board of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education (CANQATE) will present the third in a series of lectures titled “Advancing the Caribbean Narrative of Strength in Diversity – The Role of Higher Education”.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves will present the lecture and will take place at 7 pm this evening.
UNESCO Sustainable Development Goal # 4 aims to: “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. This presentation is intended to share experiences and proffer suggestions on how Caribbean nations may capitalize or are capitalizing on our diversity to provide inclusive, equitable quality education to the citizens of the region in our continued quest to influence quality in higher education internationally. The Lecture series is being presented in lieu of hosting the annual CANQATE Conference which was cancelled in October 2020 given the ongoing COVID pandemic. St. Vincent and the Grenadines was expected to host the conference. CANQATE works to promote capacity building among countries and institutions of higher education and to facilitate regional discourses on policy and research in the fields of quality assurance and quality enhancement whilst engaging policy makers, researchers, evaluators, administrators and faculty in professional development. The National Accreditation Board of St. Vincent & the Grenadines is a member of CANQATE.
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION STEP UP SANCTIONS AGAINST CUBA
The Trump administration's stepped-up sanctions against Cuba cost the island some US$20 billion, a foreign ministry official said Wednesday. "The damage to the bilateral relationship during this time has been considerable, and the economic harm to Cuba immense," Johana Tabal-ada, a senior ministry official, told AFP.
Trump, whose term ended Wednesday with the swearing-in of Joe Biden as America's 46th president, used his time in power to tighten the screws on Cuba.
Earlier this month, the Trump administration returned the island to a list of state sponsors of terrorism, undoing then-President Barack Obama's 2015 move to remove it. Biden was vice president at the time.
Trump reversed many of Obama's moves to normalise relations with Cuba. Tabalada said 240 measures were taken against Cuba under the 45th US president. They include a ban on American cruise ships stopping over on the island, a blacklist for a range of Cuban companies and bosses, prosecution of foreign companies doing business on the island, and making it difficult for Cubans working abroad to send money home. "There is objective and palpable damage to the standard of living of the Cuban people because of measures that were exactly taken to cause such damage," the official said.
Tabalada said the island nation was hoping for better relations with the United States under the new Democrat president. "Biden has said that he wants to reverse the damage caused by Trump and we have no reason to doubt his commitment," she said.
Biden has promised to pay attention to human rights in Cuba but also to bring back some of Obama's policies to normalise ties, including allowing Cuban-Americans to visit and send money.
January 20 2021
LOCAL COVID-19 CASES CONTINUE TO RISE/ONE NEW DENGUE DEATH
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has recorded an additional sixty-two Covid 19 cases as well another death due to Dengue Fever. A release from the National Emergency Management Organisation NEMO says that the fifteen (15) year old asthmatic female was admitted to hospital early in January 2021 with acute dengue fever and a severe allergic drug reaction. After remaining stable initially, the teenager developed complications one (1) week ago, deteriorated and died yesterday January 19th.
The release adds that one thousand, seven hundred and ninety (1790) laboratory confirmed cases of dengue fever have been recorded and eight (8) persons have died from the complications of severe dengue fever during this current outbreak. Meanwhile, all of the sixty-two COVID 19 cases, are nationals detected during contact tracing, testing at flu clinics and targeted screening. There have now been four hundred and sixty-four (464) local cases of COVID-19, the majority of whom are linked to various cluster types including work sites, churches and private parties. One hundred and nineteen (119) persons have recovered, four hundred and eighty-one (481) cases remain active and two persons (2) persons have died from the complications of COVID-19. A total of six hundred and two (602) cases of COVID 19 have been reported in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. All positive cases will remain isolated until cleared.
Due to the continued robust contact tracing and active flu clinics, the Molecular Laboratory is still reporting delays in the processing and reporting of results for RTPCR samples. The installation of additional equipment is expected to significantly reduce the turn around time from testing to results, and so minimize these delays. The public is asked to note that the Georgetown Health Centre will continue to offer routine community health services along with COVID-19 services in a separate flu clinic area.
PM GONSALVES ADDRESS COVID 19 AND LA SOUFRIERE MATTERS
Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves while speaking on his weekly radio program today said that efforts will be made to provide accommodation for persons who are tested positive and who may not have the appropriate accommodation in their home. The PM said that he has been holding discussions with the relevant officials to address this issue.
PM Gonsalves in a national address this week made the point that the government does not intend to adopt a mandatory mask wearing approach as it is seen as unwise and counterproductive.
The PM also pointed out that the protocols by the Health Services Sub Committee on mask wearing, hand washing and sanitizing will continue vigorously.
And Dr. Gonsalves during his program this morning provided an update on the situation with the LA Soufriere volcano which is currently in and effusive eruptive state. The PM said that activities at the volcano according to officials remain the same with the constant growth of the dome.
PM Gonsalves noted that efforts are being made to strengthen the Soufriere Monitoring unit’s capacity. He also clamored a call for persons to refrain from visiting the volcano as it can be detrimental at this time.
RSVGPF ADVISES THE PUBLIC TO ADHERE TO THE COVID 19 MEASURES AND PROTOCOLS
As St. Vincent and the Grenadines continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and its grave effects, the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) is advising members of the public to continue to be responsible citizens by adhering to the various measures and protocols that have been implemented by the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG); to protect its citizens and visitors and; to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus.
A release form the Police says that these protocols include the Recommendations for the Managed Conduct of Mass Gatherings with or without Amplified Music issued by the Health Services Subcommittee of the National Emergency Committee/COVID 19 Task Force; Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment.
The Government of SVG has declared Friday January 22nd and Monday January 25th, 2021 as public holidays. It is customary for Vincentians to engage in different social events/acitivities on public holidays. However, in light of the current rise in COVID -19 cases in SVG and the need for physical distancing and social hygiene; the RSVGPF is encouraging citizens to exercise restraint and stay at home as far as possible over the extended weekend of 22nd -25th January, 2021.
The RSVGPF informs that existing pieces of legislation among others, are highly relevant in the circumstances for enforcement Public Health Act, Public Health (Amendment) Act 2020, The Noise Control Act, The Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act – particularly in relation to the public transportation, The Litter Act, National Parks Act, Beach Protection Act
It also reminds that Section 291 Chapter 171 of the Revised Edition of the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 2009. Section 291 states “Any person who unlawfully or negligently does any act which he knows, or has reason to believe, to be likely to cause the spread of any infectious or contagious disease, is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for one year.”
Accordingly, the RSVGPF would be conducting strategic and targeted patrols to ensure no playing of amplified music in public or private places, no mass gatherings of persons on beaches, or other social events including; river cooks, picnics, etc. social and physical distancing are being practiced motorists and commuters are adhering to the protocols with regards to public transportation and; the number of passengers riding in omnibuses, no boat rides and or; excursions and quarantined persons remain at their designated places of confinement at all times.
AIR CANADA SUSPENDS FLIGHTS TO SEVERAL COUNTRIES
St Vincent and the Grenadines is among countries where flights by Air Canada have been suspended.
FOLLOWING new Covid-19 related restrictions on Canadian travelers that impacted demand, Air Canada has canceled flight operations to several routes.
The cancellation takes effect from Saturday, January 23 and will run until April 11, when it is hoped that the environment will be more conducive to traveling. Air Canada has temporarily suspended flights to 44 destinations including 12 domestic, 10 trans-border and 22 international routes.
COVID 19 VACCINATIONS COMMENCE IN BERMUDA
A total of 1,665 Bermuda residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the week since the government launched its programme on January 11, health officials have confirmed.
Health Minister Kim Wilson told Tuesday night's media briefing there had been one new positive case among the latest batch of 657 tests. It was a resident who returned to the island on an American Airlines flight from Miami on Sunday. There are 67 active COVID-19 cases, with six in hospital but none is in critical care.
Wilson said 7,729 residents have registered so far for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the coronavirus after the British government, which is sending supplies to its overseas territories, donated 9,750 doses to Bermuda. Two jabs are required.
The Health Minister said of the vaccinations given last week, 738 were performed by the Bermuda Hospitals Board. Forty went to the elderly and vulnerable at care homes, and 887 went to the elderly, healthcare workers and essential service workers at the vaccination centre at the Police Recreation Club in Prospect.
So far, 58 per cent of those vaccinated were women and 42 per cent were men. Of the total vaccinations, 32 per cent have gone to essential service workers. Bermuda has now had 684 total cases of the virus. Twelve people have died.