Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 30, 2022 (SKNIS): Health officials in St Kitts and Nevis do not expect a change in the COVID-19 entry rules to the Federation at this time given the surging numbers of cases around the world.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Hazel Laws, addressed the issue on Wednesday (June 29) during a Cabinet Press Conference and said that the decision-making process is driven by scientific data.
“Between June 16th and 26th, we welcomed 4,402 inbound air travellers to the Federation. Fifty-four percent of these individuals came from the United States of America. If you look at the data there, the U.S. is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariant of the Omicron [variant],” Dr Laws stated.
She added that the United Kingdom, as well as Europe, is also experiencing an upsurge in cases. Additionally, St. Kitts and Nevis has recorded 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 between the period June 27 to 29, 2022.
“Our entry protocols have been guided by data and the latest information and so it is not wise to make a change at this time. The most important thing to do is to contain this present wave of COVID-19 infections prior to [any] consideration of change,” CMO Laws added.
Dr Cameron Wilkinson, Medical Chief of Staff of the Joseph N. France General Hospital, noted that the COVID entry protocols act as a barrier to the importation of the virus. He noted that several doctors and nurses are currently ill with COVID-19 and containing the number of cases is essential to ensure the health system is not overwhelmed.
“We know from the guidance that we got from the World Health Organization (WHO) that they have clearly said that there is no one size fits all approach to this pandemic and so when persons speak about the United States lifting their entry requirements and why can’t St Kitts do that, we have to take into consideration our healthcare system and our financial situation here,” Dr Wilkinson indicated.
Health authorities are currently monitoring 143 active COVID-19 cases.