BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, October 31, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, was today (October 31) featured on the Peter Greenberg Worldwide ‘Eye on Travel’ radio programme with internationally acclaimed travel journalist, Mr. Peter Greenberg.
Mr. Greenberg is an Emmy-winning investigative reporter and producer, known in the travel industry as “The Travel Detective”. He is the Travel Editor for CBS News, appearing on CBS This Morning.
During the 20-minute interview, Prime Minister Harris shared with Mr. Greenberg and his thousands of listeners, the details on how the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has managed and contained the spread of COVID-19.
Prime Minister Harris stated that early planning and implementation by local health experts, as well as a comprehensive education programme, was critical in minimizing the risks to the population of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Very early on, our Chief Medical Officer had seen what was evolving then around the world and in China, (which) had potential for us in the region and so she put a small team together under what we call the Health Emergency Operations Center. That core team was doing the monitoring and developing protocols very early in the event that COVID was to arrive in St. Kitts and Nevis. When in fact it did then, we were ahead in terms of our knowledge and ahead in terms of our structure, so immediately we expanded what was then a health response to a broader national response, which we call the all of society approach,” Prime Minister Harris remarked.
The prime minister added, “Very quickly, when some countries were vacillating about whether or not to close borders, we closed our borders, and we engaged in a number of actions to prevent and contain the spread such as locking down the country for a time. All these things that we did were hurtful in the beginning, but it also shocked the country very early in realizing the danger [of this disease].”
Mr. Greenberg also referred to the St. Kitts and Nevis Government’s success in being able to make the distinction between life and livelihood very early on and make the necessary tough decisions such as closing the Federation’s borders to commercial travel.
“Our strategy from day one had been that it had to be life first. Some other countries were talking about livelihoods and the economy. For us, if there are not people who are healthy then the economy could not grow, so we looked beyond the short term to see that [closing the borders] was necessary if we were to preserve life, and we saw that as the most critical mandate of the Government – life before livelihood,” Prime Minister Harris said.
Those critical early decisions led to St. Kitts and Nevis now being considered by the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a very low risk destination.
The full episode with Prime Minister Harris will be accessible on the website, petergreenberg.com, from Monday November 02, under the section ‘Eye on Travel’.
Earlier this year, Mr. Greenberg visited St. Kitts and Nevis where he recorded an episode of his popular show, ‘Eye on Travel’.