March 4th 2021
ONE NEW POSITIVE COVID-19 CASE REPORTED
St. Vincent and the Grenadines yesterday reported one (1) new positive COVID-19 case. This case is a contact of a known positive, from ninety-five (95) samples received and processed on Tuesday March 2, 2021. The positivity rate for Tuesday March 2, 2021 is 1.05%. Five (5) persons were cleared bringing the number of total recoveries to nine hundred and fifty-four (954). Six hundred and eighty-four (684) cases remain active and eight (8) persons with COVID-19 have died. One thousand, six hundred and forty-six (1646) cases of COVID-19 have been reported in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since March 2020.
The public is urged to use a mask, sanitize, physically distance and get vaccinated to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
PRIME MINISTER GONSALVES ENCOURAGES VINCENTIANS TO GET VACCINATED
Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves continues to encourage Vincentians to get vaccinated. This as SVG this week received 40,000 doses of the Indian manufactured Covishield vaccine. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the arrival of the medication Dr Gonsalves made the point that the vaccines have an expiry date of June 2021 and should be utilized in a swift manner.
PM Gonsalves also provided a list of sources from which SVG is expected to receive additional vaccines at the country intensifies its vaccination drive.
FINANCIAL RESOURSE ARE AVAILABLE TO DEAL WITH ISSUES ARISING IN THE EVENT OF AN EXPLOSIVE ERUPTION AT LA SOUFRIERE
This country’s Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves has given the assurance that financial resources are available, to deal with issues which may arise, in the event of an explosive eruption of La Soufriere Volcano. The PM gave the assurance as he addressed a virtual community meeting, held for residents of North Leeward on Tuesday.
Dr Gonsalves also highlighted that in this the time of COVID-19 and the availability of COVID vaccines in the event that an evacuation order has to be issued, persons can feel more comfortable at emergency shelters once they are vaccinated.
NEMO DIRECTOR OUTLINES PROCEDURES IN THE EVENT OF EXPLOSIVE ERUPTION
Director of NEMO Michelle Forbes outlined the procedure which will be followed in the even that an explosive eruption take place here. Forbes further noted that evacuation shelters have already been identified and discussions are ongoing.
The discussion was hosted by NEMO, to provide residents of North Leeward with an update on the situation at La Soufriere Volcano.
NEMO UPDATES ON LA SOUFRIERE
In its latest update the National Emergency management Organisation NEMO said that no drone surveys or aerial photographs of the volcano were done at the La Soufriere Volcano over the past few days due to poor weather conditions, however, satellite observations on March 1, confirmed that the dome continues to grow slowly.
The release says that the new seismic station constructed at the National Parks Interpretation Centre at Bamboo Range, on the eastern side of the volcano is operational. The streaming of data from this into the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) began on March 01, 2021. 3. A new continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) monitoring station was installed at the monument recently constructed in Fancy. Work continued at the Belmont Observatory, on the installation of the seismic data acquisition system. Additional measurements of carbon dioxide in soil along the lower sides of the volcano is completed.
Three members of the Seismic Research Centre Team returned to Trinidad and Tobago on Monday March 1, 2021. They are Dr. Michal Camejo, Ms. Monique Johnson & Mr. Garth Mannette. The National Emergency Management Organisation is reminding the public that no evacuation order or notice has been issued.
RICHMOND VALE ACADEMY PUBLISHES BOOKLET TO GUIDE PERSONS WHO ARE NEW TO HOME GARDENS
A free, user-friendly booklet to guide the efforts of persons wishing to get involved in ecological farming is now available here. According to local reports the booklet, “Make Your Home Garden Flourish”, is published by Richmond Vale Academy (RVA), and is “a perma-culture guide to crop rotation, companion plants and seasonal planting in St. Vincent”.
The Academy says that people who are new to home gardens might have challenges starting out and deciding what and when to plant. It focuses on seasons — which season is best for planting, crop rotation — what crops to plant after each harvest, and companion planting — the benefits of planting certain crops together. The publication, which is available free online, draws on traditional and scientific knowledge of gardening. The booklet is published as part of RVA’s Ecological Home Garden Movement, which is part of a 10-year St. Vincent Climate Compliance Conference, 2012 – 2021
The conference focuses on Food, Water, and Energy Security, as well as Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation. It was produced with financing from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives which has also supported the making of several home gardens in Barrouallie last year.
28.7MILLION DOZES OF COVID-19 VACCINES SLATED FOR DELIVERY TO MEMBER COUNTRIES
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director, Dr Carissa Etienne, says 28.7 million doses of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are slated for delivery to member countries through to May under the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility.
Speaking during PAHO's COVID-19 digital briefing on Wednesday, Dr Etienne said regional countries participating in COVAX and their global counterparts were each informed, via the Facility, of the number of doses they will receive over the period. She noted that some countries have already made preparations for the vaccines' arrival, adding that PAHO is placing orders “and readying several COVAX deliveries in our region… with shipments likely to arrive in mid-March”.
The director pointed out, however, that a few countries still need to approve the COVAX contracts, ensuring they have the proper regulations in place, and make their payments. “This can be a complicated process, as some countries will need to sign new legislation to meet these COVAX requirements. We urge our member states to make this a priority, so they can receive these long-awaited doses,” she said.
Dr Etienne noted that throughout the pandemic, countries globally have grappled with shortages of essential medical supplies like medicines, diagnostic tests, personal protective equipment and oxygen, adding that “we face the same challenge with vaccines”. She said manufacturers are “working around the clock” to produce more doses, and new vaccine candidates are being reviewed and included in the WHO Emergency Use Listing, “so more vaccines will, hopefully, be available soon”. “As more doses are produced, we'll see several waves of shipments arriving in the region every month,” the director noted. Pointing out that, in the interim, doses “will remain limited”, Dr Etienne emphasised that these must be used wisely and, in the process, prioritise persons deemed most at risk.
These, she said, include health workers, the elderly and people living with pre-existing conditions.
“PAHO is committed to ensuring that our region receives the doses we need as quickly as possible. In the meantime, our member states are [largely] ready to roll out these vaccines and PAHO stands by for any support they need,” Dr Etienne added.
March 3rd 2021
FULL-SCALE LAUNCH OF COVID-19 NATIONAL VACCINATION DEPLOYMENT PROGRAMME COMMENCES
A full-scale launch of the COVID-19 National Vaccination Deployment Programme is taking place today Wednesday, March 3rd. The exercise is being done at the Victoria Park, Kingstown and also at Health Centers throughout SVG, spearheaded by the Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment, Health Services Subcommittee, National Emergency Committee.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Simone Keizer Beache has stated that to date there have been no reports of anyone dying from being vaccinated with COVID 19 vaccines. Keizer Beache was at the time responding to a question at a ceremony on Monday, where SVG received 40, 000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine from the government of India.
Mrs. Keizer Beache explained that all administered vaccines and any activities surrounding it is documented in order to keep track of what is taking place. The CMO further explained why it is still important to wear masks and follow protocols even after receiving the jab.
Mrs. Beache spoke to the changes or adjustments in protocols, primarily for church setting and mass gathering. She also explained the revised protocols as it relates to entry into SVG even after receiving the vaccine. A reduction in quarantine time has been announced I this regard.
SEVENTEEN NEW POSITIVE COVID 19 CASES REPORTED
St. Vincent and the Grenadines on March 2nd reported seventeen (17) new positives cases from two hundred and thirty-six (236) samples received and processed on Monday March 1, 2021.
Twelve (12) of the new positives are eight (8) patients, three (3) staff (3) and one (1) contact from the Mental Health Rehabilitation Centre (MHRC). Of the other five (5) positive persons, three (3) are contacts of a known positive not related to MHRC and the other two (2) are persons who presented to health care facilities seeking care. The positivity rate for Monday March 1, 2021 is 7.2%. Four (4) persons were cleared bringing the number of total recoveries to nine hundred and forty-nine (949).
Six hundred and eighty-eight (688) cases remain active and eight (8) persons with COVID-19 have died. One thousand, six hundred and forty-five (1645) cases of COVID-19 have been reported in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since March 2020. The public is urged to use a mask, sanitize, physically distance and get vaccinated to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
NEMO HOST VIRTUAL MEETING TO UPDATE NL COMMUNITY ABOUT PREPAREDNESS EFFORTS FOR ERUPTION AT LA SOUFRIERE
The National Emergency Management Organization NEMO last evening held a virtual Community Meeting to update the North Leeward community about the preparedness efforts that are currently underway.
Dr. Thomas Christopher, Lead Scientists of the La Soufriere Monitoring Team during his presentation said that due to unfavorable conditions most times, there is a great difficulty in conducting the appropriate monitoring activities at times. He however explained that the volcano is still in an effusive state and the new dome is continuing to grow. Dr Thomas also provided explanations as t why rocks are being collected for analysis.
A release from NEMO yesterday stated that gas plume coming from the dome at La Soufriere continues to cause damage to vegetation in the summit areas on the south-western side of the volcano, a release from the National Emergency Management Organisation NEMO says.
The measurement of carbon dioxide in soil along the lower sides of the volcano has commenced. A monument to be used as a benchmark for a new continuous GPS monitoring station was constructed at the Fancy seismic site. Work continued at the Belmont Observatory with the installation of the seismic data acquisition system.
BRAGSA COMPLETES NEW CONCRETE ROAD AT ARROWROOT FLAT, DORSETSHIRE HILL
The Roads, Buildings and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) has completed the construction of a new concrete road in Arrowroot Flat, Dorsetshire Hill.
The project saw the construction of 691 feet of road in the area. In addition, BRAGSA constructed 933 feet of Slipper, Swale and Box Drains. The project was done at a cost of $207,000.
BARBADOS HEALTH AUTHORITIES IDENTIFY 11 COVID-19 HOT SPOTS
Health authorities in Barbados have identified 11 COVID-19 hot spots in communities across the island and will be heading into those areas to identify and isolate primary contacts, Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George has said. He made the disclosure during a press briefing and update Monday evening on the Ministry's contact tracing strategies to curb the spread of the viral illness.
Emphasising that contact tracing was the main tool, next to vaccination, in suppressing the outbreak, Dr George said intelligence gathered from teams in the field revealed a number of high-risk communities. However, he declined to publicly disclose those hot spots.
“We require the public's cooperation. So, persons will be coming and asking you a few questions. In addition to that, we will be offering testing. We're looking at about 11 hot spots. I don't want to name the hot spots for many reasons, because this is not about pointing fingers; this is about controlling the spread of disease. So, we are going to work quietly in these communities,” Dr George said.
The Chief Medical Officer further noted that health officials had noticed a “new pattern” where many of the primary contacts were occurring in families. He added that while the disease was spreading at the community level, it was being transmitted mostly from household to household within neighbourhoods.
One of the strategies the Ministry has implemented is taking individuals out of their homes based on their level of risk, and placing them in designated quarantine hotels to reduce the spread of the virus within families.
So far, 40 such individuals who live in high-risk communities and in crowded homes have been placed in quarantine. Dr George divulged that 16 of those from a single household have since tested positive for COVID-19. He pointed out that the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory had the capacity to facilitate the testing of those picked up in contact tracing efforts, since it was currently up-to-date and had the ability to process up to 2,000 samples per day.
Dr George added that the aim was to increase testing “to get a good feel as to the level of COVID in the population”. To bolster the effort, he said the Ministry would be bringing on four additional people who were well.
March 2nd 2021
NO NEW COVID-19 POSITIVE CASES REPORTED
St. Vincent and the Grenadines recorded no new positives cases as of yesterday March 1st, for the thirty (30) samples received and processed on Sunday February 28, 2021.
At the time of this release there were no results for the 236 samples received at the Molecular Lab Unit this evening for March 1, 2021. Seven (7) persons were cleared bringing the number of total recoveries to nine hundred and forty-five (945). Six hundred and seventy-five (675) cases remain active and eight (8) persons with COVID-19 have died. One thousand, six hundred and twenty-eight (1628) cases of COVID-19 have been reported in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since March 2020. The public is urged to use a mask, sanitize, physically distance and get vaccinated to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
40,000 DOSES OF COVISHIELD ASTRA ZENECA VACCINES ARRIVE FROM THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT
This country received a donation of 40,000 doses of the Covishield AstraZeneca vaccine from the Indian Government. The vaccines arrived at the Argyle International Airport at around yesterday, aboard a Regional Security System, RSS Aircraft.
Minister of Health Hon St. Clair Jimmy Prince was among officials on hand to receive the medication. Delivering brief remarks, Minister Prince said the donation will provide a major boost for the ‘Get Vaccinated campaign.’
The Minister also commended the staff at the Ministry as well as other stakeholders for the work being done with regards to the vaccination rollout. He said that the campaign will be ramped up as they have identified target groups.
Infectious Disease Specialist Dr Jerrol Thompson while speaking on a radio program on Sunday said that despite all the sad news and the many-sided challenges that COVID 19 brings there is still some light at the end of the tunnel. Thompson spoke about and welcomed the news of the high efficacy rate of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine from India. Dr Thompson added that new studies have commenced for vaccines for pregnant women and persons under the age of twelve.
OMNI BUS OPERATORS WHO FAIL TO COMPLY WITH COVID 19 PROTOCOLS WILL NOT RECEIVE SUBSIDY
Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves has reiterated that omnibus operators who fail to comply with the COVID 19 protocols will not receive the temporary subsidy which was recently announced.
PM Gonsalves while speaking on radio on the weekend said that he has received reports of significant breaches of the protocols on omnibuses.
Omnibuses are required to operate at a 50% reduction capacity in an effort to comply as much as possible with the Ministry of Health’s protocols to reduce the spread of COVID 19.
NEMO TO HOST VIRTUAL COMMUNITY MEETING FOR NORTH LEEWARD
The National Emergency Management Organisation NEMO will this evening host a virtual community meeting for the North Leeward Community beginning at 6:00 p.m.
The meeting would be carried live on local NBC Radio and VC3 TV (channel 114), NEMO’S Facebook page, UWI tv Global (www.uwitv.org), uwiseismic YouTube channel and Grenadines Radio.
The panel will include Director of NEMO Ms. Michelle Forbes, Dr Thomas Christopher, Volcanologist at the UWI Seismic Research Center Montserrat Volcano Observatory and Prime minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves. Star Radio will bring live coverage of this event.
The Roads, Buildings and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) has completed the construction of a new Radiology Room at the Levi Latham Health Center in Mesopotamia. The project saw the retrofitting of the Radiology Room. This included the construction of partitions, and the carrying out of plumbing and electrical work.
BRAGSA also painted and tiled the facility. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) funded project was done at a cost of $58,000. It was carried out over a four weeks period.
COLOMBIA LAUNCHES "TEMPORARY PROTECTION STATUS" PROJECT OR UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS FROM VENEZUELA
Colombia on Monday launched a project to provide "temporary protection status" to nearly a million undocumented migrants who have fled to its territory from economically-devastated Venezuela.
President Ivan Duque signed a decree that would see the newcomers registered and given permission to reside and travel within Colombia during a ten-year period in which they can acquire a residence visa.
Of the 1.7 million Venezuelans living in neighbouring Colombia, nearly 900,000 were undocumented, Duque told reporters in Bogota. The process would start with the mandatory registration of migrants in a database "for the formulation and design of public policies," the presidency explained.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, described the move as "historic." "It is an extraordinary display of humanity, commitment to human rights and pragmatism," he said in a video shown at the signing ceremony.
Antonio Vitorino, director of the International Organization for Migration, said the measure would "reduce the vulnerabilities of refugees and migrants" in Colombia. Colombia is one of several countries worldwide who do not recognise Nicolas Maduro as the president of Venezuela, but rather opposition leader Juan Guaido. The neighbours do not have diplomatic ties.
March 1st 2021
40000 DOSES OF OXFORD ASTRAZENECA VACCINES TO ARRIVE FROM INDIA
The 40,000 doses of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines from the Government of India are expected to arrive here in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, today Monday March 1, 2021 at about midday on a Regional Security System (RSS) aircraft.
Prime Minister, Dr. The Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves would be on hand at the Argyle International Airport to receive the vaccines, and would be accompanied by the Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, the Hon. St Clair Prince, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Simone Keizer-Beache, and other officials from the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment.
Speaking on radio yesterday PM Gonsalves expressed gratitude to the government and people of India for this latest donation. He said that St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be sharing some 5000 of the vaccines with neighboring Grenada.
Dr. Gonsalves pointed out that the expected 40,000 doses of vaccines will help to intensify the vaccination campaign and rollout here. The PM said that vaccines will be made available at a number of centers throughout the state.
PM Gonsalves continues to encourage persons to take the vaccine and made the point that he will be deeply saddened if persons do not utilize the vaccines that are being made available here.
NEMO REPORTS MORE POSITIVE CASES AT THE MENTAL HEALTH CENTRE
The number of persons at the Mental Health Rehabilitation Centre who have tested positive for Covid-19 have now increased to 92, more than doubling since the last report.
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) on Sunday night reported 49 new cases, adding to the 20 reported on Saturday, and 23 on Friday.
The release from NEMO says that all of the new positives are RT-PCR results for tests conducted on patients and staff of the Mental Health Rehabilitation Centre (MHRC) in Glen on Saturday February 27, 2021 as part of the ongoing contact tracing and general screening. Forty-seven (47) are patients and two (2) are staff members. This latest report brings the number of patients who are infected to 86 and staff members, six.
Further, the release notes that isolation and quarantine measures continue to be implemented along with additional testing to ensure containment of any further spread in the facility. Screening of admissions will also continue as a measure to reduce the risk of the introduction of new infections,” the release said.
Meanwhile, two persons were cleared of Covid-19 bringing the total number of recoveries to 938. Six hundred and eighty-two (682) cases remain active and eight (8) persons with COVID-19 have died. One thousand, six hundred and twenty-eight (1628) cases of COVID-19 have been reported in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since March 2020.
The public is urged to use a mask, sanitize, physically distance and get vaccinated to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
POOR WEATHER CONDITIONS PREVENT DRONE SURVEYS AT LA SOUFRIERE
No drone surveys or aerial photographs of the La Soufriere volcano were done due to poor weather conditions. The National Emergency Management Organisation NEMO said that satellite images on February 23, 2021 confirmed that the dome continues to grow slowly. The results from the testing of gas given off by the new dome remain unchanged and continue to consist of water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2,), hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and sulphur dioxide (SO2).
The ongoing outflow of magma onto the crater floor continues with periodic changes in the rate of dome growth. During the week, the monitoring team began construction of a new seismic station at the National Parks Interpretation Centre at Bamboo Range on the eastern (Windward side) of the volcano. A virtual community meeting for the North Leeward Community will be held on Tuesday 2nd March 2021 beginning at 6:00 p.m. The meeting would be carried live on local NBC Radio and VC3 TV (channel 114), NEMO’S Facebook page, UWI tv Global (www.uwitv.org), uwiseismic YouTube channel and Grenadines Radio.
The National Emergency Management Organisation is reminding the public that no evacuation order or notice has been issued. NEMO continues to appeal to the public to desist from visiting the La Soufrière Volcano, especially going into the crater, since doing so is extremely dangerous. NEMO will continue to provide regular updates on all activities taking place at La Soufrière.
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE LAUNCHES FOOD MARKET STABILIZATION PROGRAMME
The Ministry of Agriculture has launched the Food Market Stabilization Programme. Minister of Agriculture Hon Saboto Ceaser has stated that this came about as a result of the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as some measures that were put in place prior.
The minister said that as of today Monday March 2021 all farmers of crops and livestock wishing to obtain markets for their produce are asked to register their interest at the designated locations. The minister also encourages farmers and traders to utilize this facility.
The locations are Langley Park Palletization Centre, La Croix Palletization Centre, Lauders Agro-processing Centre, Rillan Hill Community Centre and Rose Bank Community Centre. Operating hours: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, Mondays – Fridays beginning March 1st, 2021.
CURFEW TO REMAIN IN PLACE ARE 3 1/2 WEEK LOCKDOWN ENDS IN BARBADOS
Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley announced Thursday night that when the three-and-a-half-week lockdown ends on February 28, businesses will be allowed to reopen in phases, but a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew will remain in place.
Motley said the “science and efforts of all recognize sharp shutdown but gradual reopening”, and that was the approach her government was advised to take “and it is the one that we shall take”.
Barbadians have been on a “national pause” since February 3, with most commerce reduced to a bare minimum. Supermarkets, bakeries, gas stations were among the handful of businesses allowed to operate during the period.
However, Prime Minister Mottley said that from March 1, construction, agriculture, fisheries, auto repair and manufacturing services will also be allowed to resume. Hardware, appliance, farm and gardening, plumbing and electronic and IT stores will also reopen. Fast food restaurants will be allowed to operate drive-thrus, curbside pickup, and delivery, but indoor dining will not be permitted. Markets will also reopen.
Additionally, Prime Minister Mottley said, Government entities like the post office, law courts, registry and land registry will reopen, and administrative offices can reopen with minimum staff. However, Prime Minister said individuals who can work effectively at home should continue to do so.
Among those businesses that are still on pause are boutiques, barbers, hairdressers and nail technicians. Gyms, massage parlours will also remain closed. However, in addition to the 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. period currently allowed for exercise outdoors, a 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. period has been added.
Under the phased reopening, businesses will be closed on Sundays, except for gas stations which will be permitted to open to sell fuel only. Prime Minister Mottley urged residents to follow the directives and protocols so Barbados can reduce the COVID-19 numbers.
PRESIDENT OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ANNOUNCES PLANS TO BUILD A FENCE ALONG ITS BORDER WITH HAITI
The president of the Dominican Republic has announced plans to build a fence along its border with Haiti, which extends for about 380km (236 miles). Luis Abinader said the barrier would help curb illegal immigration, drugs and the flow of stolen vehicles between the two countries, which share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Mr Abinader said work on the barrier would start later this year. Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere.
Relations between the two neighbours have been historically difficult. Mr Abinader said in an address to Congress that in a period of two years, they want to put an end to the serious problems of illegal immigration, drug trafficking and the movement of stolen vehicles. The cost of the project has not been disclosed. Mr. Abinader said the barrier in some "conflictive" sections would include a double-fence along with motion sensors, infrared systems and facial recognition cameras.
The Dominican Republic, which has a population of about 11 million, has already constructed some stretches of fencing along the border. It is estimated that about 500,000 Haitian migrants are living in the country - many of them there illegally. In January, the government agreed to help Haiti provide identity papers to its citizens living in Dominican territory. In 2015, Haiti called on the Dominican Republic to delay the planned deportation of thousands of Haitians.
Let's protect each other from COVID-19