Saint Kitts and Nevis: Prime minister of St Kitts and Nevis- Timothy Harris spoke in the edition of Leadership Matters.
He stated that “I am encouraged by informed reports that Leadership Matters Programme continues to be the most comprehensive, informative and interactive discussion program on the policies, actions and performance of the people’s Government.”
PM thanked the citizens who across the globe tune in regularly to inform themselves on the crucial matters of the nation.
PM further expressed that “As a Government, acting on the advice of our experts, we believe we have taken the necessary measures to provide us with the best possible COVID-19 protocols for our continued safety.”
Following the statement, he informed everyone that St Kitts and Nevis has the least number of COVID-19 virus cases and the individuals who reported positive for the virus are now fully recovered.
“We recorded no deaths due to COVID-19 and our health system is functioning well. I encourage us all to continue to do our part to be as safe as possible. Please get vaccinated if you are yet to do so,” declared PM.
He further shared flights statistics regarding the opening of borders, paralyzed global travel and said, “Tourist arrivals would recover when more people will get vaccinated and confidence in the safety of global travel is restored. Vaccination is a crucial factor affecting safety and confidence while travelling.”
He talked about the vaccination programme which started on 22 February 2021. Till now, thousands of residents have got vaccinated under the vaccination programme and talked on the shortage of vaccines.
“America has 60 million doses of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines which it does not need and arrangements are reported to be in place for 300 million more doses. The USA recently shared 4 million doses with Canada and Mexico. CARICOM has asked that we in the region be accorded some of that stock,” PM Harris.
” With the nations producing the vaccines insisting that they must get priority attention, it has become very challenging for a small island like those in CARICOM to access enough vaccines in the time frames.”
He further thanked the government of India for providing vaccine doses to Saint Kitts and Nevis and urged the citizens to get a vaccination. On this, he asserted, “Our nation has vaccines available I urge our people to get vaccinated. The longer you delay, it is likely that vaccines may not be available when you decide that you are ready. Do not wait until you contract COVID-19 at home, at work, at an event to get vaccinated. Protect yourself now.”
“The vaccine is free. In Canada, UK and the USA people are waiting anxiously for their appointment. Here in St Kitts and Nevis, there is no waiting,” PM Timothy.
“You can go to any of the 17 Health Centres from Monday to Friday between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. to be vaccinated. Fortunately too every Saturday between 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon you can go to Health Centres in McKnight, Newtown, Tabernacle, St Pauls and Sandy Point and some Health Centres on Nevis are open on some Saturdays to be vaccinated.”
He further talked about the condition of Anguilla and declared, “The recent lockdown in Anguilla reminds us that we are not safe until we get vaccinated. Anguilla was doing well until recently it had a cluster spread. School children, teachers, and parents are all affected there. To date, they have 80 confirmed cases. As of yesterday, there were 51 newly diagnosed cases linked to the cluster. Anguillans are now rushing for the vaccines.”
“Vaccination provides the pathway to the stronger and safer future of job growth, high incomes and increased opportunities,”
“Many persons here are part of the 255 million persons around the World who lost their jobs or are forced to survive on reduced incomes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Following the statement he stated that “For us to put back to work on a permanent basis we need every adult vaccinated, sooner we do this, the better and stronger we will be and the more resources we will have to put our nation on a stronger and safer path to rehabilitation.”
“I honour the 12,224 plus citizens representing 37 per cent of our target population who took time to get the vaccine as of Monday, April 26, 2021. Coming the first week of May, thousands of others would step forward to take the second dose of the Oxford- AstraZeneca vaccine,” stated PM.
PM Harris announced some Changes To COVID-19 Protocols, based on the recommendations of health experts, for those who are fully vaccinated as part of the phased response to the evolving COVID-19 situation:-
- Reduced quarantine period- Medical experts have recommended reducing the quarantine period for the fully vaccinated inbound air travellers to St Kitts and Nevis from 14 to 9 days effective May 01, 2021.
- Effective May 20, 2021 – fully vaccinated travellers can access venues of amateur and recreational sporting events (football match, basketball match, athletic meets etc). CMO will address the conditionality for this.
- Fully vaccinated cultural/entertainment events can be favourably considered, whereby only fully vaccinated people are allowed entrance. Recommended start date week off – July 19, 2021.
- Mixed (vaccinated and non vaccinated people) cultural/entertainment events must adhere to existing protocols.
- Marriages, funerals and church services would be mixed events (vaccinated and non vaccinated) therefore must adhere to existing protocols.
“Additionally, it is expected that the first cruise ship will return to St Kitt’s and Nevis in July 2021. This means opportunity for our fully vaccinated taxi operators, restauranteurs, etc,” said PM Harris.
He further stated, “A speedy path to vaccination can yield many economic and broader societal benefits for us here in St. Kitts and Nevis. Just as our being low risk for COVID-19 brought our Federation 2 movies so far and 5 more to be filmed, so can we be fully vaccinated yield other economic benefits.”
“Being the first to be fully vaccinated can put us at the top of the list for a cruise, and other tourism segments.”
“Imagine Hotels filled. Taxis will have a bonanza. Brimstone Hill, Scenic Railway, Sky Safaris again taking booking months in advance. Operators of water taxis, catamaran, fishing excursions will all be doing well. Foreign exchange being well earned and our people back to work. We can make this happen!”
He further concluded by saying “Tonight we have with us our Chief Medical Officer- Dr Hazel Laws, our Medical Chief of Staff- Dr Cameron Wilkinson, they have both given assistant service to our nation in this most crucial of COVID-19 pandemic and the CEO of our Tourism Authority, Raquel Brown. Our tourism plant is the last important sector of our economy to get on the path to sustainable recovery.”
“In closing, I say thank you to all who have been praying for me, my family, our people and our nation. I pledge to do all that I can do to keep my residents and Country safe,” says PM.