Statement by Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, Prime Minister on the countries ongoing preparations for Reopening on October 31 at the sitting of Parliament on October 15, 2020

Mr Speaker, as we prepare ourselves for the full opening of our borers to international and regional arrivals and departures, it is perhaps propitious to provide a brief situational analysis of St Kitts and Nevis.

  1. COVID-19 cases – 19 confirmed cases.  19 fully recovered.  No deaths.

This compares very well with our region and hemisphere.  Among all sovereign states we have the lowest number of cases.

Our Regional Standing – Among 24 member states of CARPHA our region has recorded 45,140 cases of which 3,565 have recovered and regrettably 899 persons have died as at October 12, 2020.

  • Status of Plans for Re-opening of Borders:
  1. Two (2) stakeholder meetings were convened with the managers of the franchise/ branded hotels on Thursday October 1, 2020 and Thursday October 8, 2020.
  • The stakeholder consultations continue this week. The Ministry of Tourism, St. Kitts Tourism Authority and core members of the National COVID-19 Task Force have scheduled site visits to the properties of the franchise hotels and the other two (2) participating hotels.
  • We conducted the site visit to Park Hyatt Hotel on Wednesday October 14., 2020;
  • The site visits to Four Seasons Hotel, Oualie Beach Hotel and Marriott Hotel will take place on Thursday October 15, 2020. The site visit to the Koi Resort will take place on Friday October 16, 2020 and the site visit to Royal St. Kitts Hotel will take place on Saturday October 17, 2020.

The aim/ objectives for these site visits are:

  • Discuss the list of services that will be offered to the high -risk tourists;
  • Review the protocols that will guide the hotel operations in this context;
  • Discuss security protocols;
  • Discuss the concierge services:

The goal is to evaluate/asses the protocols and package of services that will be offered to the high-risk tourists. We must ensure that these services can be offered with minimum risk of COVID-19 outbreaks on our hotel properties.

  • Regarding our RLB International Airport we are making steady progress.  I can report the following:

PHASE 1 – ARRIVALS AREAS

Welcome Centre – 70% complete

Arrival HallImmigration Area: 90% complete; Partition erected with only 2 sets of doors to be installed.

Medical Screening Room (Formerly VIP Lounge):

Testing Booths 50% competed.

Medical Centre with Isolation facility – 75% complete:

Civil Works: – Sewage plant infrastructure 80 % complete.

Completion of Phase 1 is on target for October 26, 2020.

3. Access to COVID-19 Tools:

ACT Accelerator

On Thursday, September 10, 2020, I participated in the inaugural meeting of the Access to COVID-19 Tools – Accelerator (ACT- A) Facilitation Council as the government member representing the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The ACT-A is a ground – breaking international collaboration that has four pillars or tools: (1) Diagnostics, (2) Treatment, (3) Vaccines & (4) Health System Strengthening.

The overall goal is to speed up an end to the pandemic by supporting the development and equitable distribution of the tests, treatments and vaccines the world needs to reduce mortality and severe disease, restoring full societal and economic activity globally in the near term, and facilitating high-level control of COVID-19 disease in the medium term.

The COVAX Facility

The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access facility (COVAX Facility) provides an opportunity for member states to benefit from a portfolio of vaccine candidates using a range of technology platforms produced by many manufacturers across the world.  It provides member states with early access to safe and efficacious vaccines.  Member states that participate in the COVAX Facility will have access to doses of vaccine as a result of the advance purchase commitments that the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) will conclude with vaccine manufacturers. As doses become available, they will be allocated to all participating member states in accordance with the terms and conditions agreed.

The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis submitted the signed commitment agreement with the GAVI on September 18, 2020 and confirmed its participation in this COVAX Facility. The full down payment amount of US$ 223,660 became due on October 9, 2020. CARPHA consented to pay US $96,163 on behalf of the Federation and the Government has paid the balance US$ 127,497 on the due date.

It was within the best interest of the health system and the people of the Federation to be participating to this global facility.

The COVID-19 App is another way we will strengthen the response of our health system

The COVID-19 App is a smartphone based app that facilitates the case management of individuals affected by COVID-19. This case management App facilitates the identification/elicitation and documentation of individuals who contract COVID-19 along with their known contacts.  It captures the relevant demographic data and ongoing health status changes of these individuals in almost real-time.  It allows for almost real-time communication between affected individuals and the Public Health Care (PHC) team.

The geo-location based function of the App when activated voluntarily in Jurisdictions where it is legally permitted and or mandated, enables for the PHC team to facilitate the Quarantine of affected individuals and their contacts at home or in any designated non-Governmental facility. This function allows the PHC team to monitor whether affected individuals and their contacts have traveled or ventured outside their designated site of Quarantine, and to promptly initiate corrective measures.

During the duration of Quarantine, the app enables each patient to communicate with the PHC team daily and to notify the PHC team during any perceived emergency. The mobile app allows the PHC team to send out messages to the general public.

  • COVID-19 Bill
  • State of Emergency
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