BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, June 24, 2020 (PLP PR Media Inc.) — St. Kitts and Nevis took the decision to close its borders based on health advice as one of the ways to contain the spread of the Covid-19, and Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris has said any decision to open them will again be based on health advice.
“As I speak I am aware that the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) they are meeting and they are giving consideration to the protocols that must be in place when we get to the point where it is deemed prudent to open the borders,” said Prime Minister Harris when he appeared on Leadership Matters, a virtual forum series, on Tuesday evening June 23.
With science still evolving, people are looking at what is happening in countries where borders have opened and part of the strategy must be to minimise the occurrence of some of the negatives and to contain the probability of any spread as a result of the opening of the borders.
“We continue to work on that matter, (and) we expect that a proposal will come to the Cabinet and after that proposal from the technical team is considered by Cabinet, then a decision will be made and the public will be advised,” said Dr Harris.
He was responding to questions posed by listeners to the programme which was broadcast from the ZIZ Television studios and carried live by a number of radio stations and on various social media platforms, who wanted to know when the country’s borders will reopen.
Appearing on the ninth edition of the hugely popular Leadership Matters series, which had taken a break in the run-up to the June 5 General Election having appeared for eight consecutive weeks, Prime Minister Harris was accompanied by Commissioner of Police, Hilroy Brandy, and National Security Advisor, Major General (Retired) Stewart Saunders.
“We are working hard, and we are working and taking not just our own counsel but we are benefitting from regional and other organisations which are making inputs with regard to issues of border management, border control,” advised the Honourable Prime Minister.
He added: “Over the last couple of weeks there have been meetings at the heads of government level to look at the opening up of borders, trying as it were to find and to formulate a common approach to that. Of course there have been discussions over the last couple of days at the level of the OECS regarding the matter of opening up of the borders.”
St. Kitts and Nevis has managed the process of containing the coronavirus pandemic so successfully that to date it boasts of no deaths, no admissions in the hospitals, and there is no overwhelming of the health sector in terms of cases. This was achieved as a result of a very vigorous process of contact tracing and according to Dr Harris, “we continue to ensure that St. Kitts and Nevis remains a best example of a well-managed state in all respects, including in the management of Covid-19.”
Kittitians and Nevisians both at home and overseas have welcomed the move as articulated by Prime Minister Harris.
“I thank you Prime Minister,” wrote Ms Pearl Sylvester from Canada on YouTube’s live stream. “Do not rush to open to please a few. I am concerned about what can happen if you rush. Remember the Federation’s wealth is its wealth. I would love to visit my aged and ailing mother, also my sister but I respect the wishes of the Prime Minister.”