PM Chastanet on Coronavirus: "We can only prepare for the worst"
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet says his government will always put the people of Saint Lucia first above anything else.
His comments fall against the backdrop of the spread of the deadly new Coronavirus strain.
With over 100 confirmed cases of the virus outside mainland China, including six in the United States and two in the United Kingdom, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.
Several countries have issued travel bans and advisories across the globe in efforts of controlling the flow of people to and from China and other affected jurisdictions.
The US State Department on Thursday night issued a travel advisory telling Americans not to travel to China because of the public health threat posed by the coronavirus.
Will Saint Lucia follow behind?
“We could, I don’t know. We are going to work with WHO and all the international organizations in order to make that determination, but Saint Lucia will always put the safety of its people first before any business,” Prime Minister Chastanet told Loop News.
With the US and the UK being Saint Lucia’s largest markets for visitor arrivals, concerns have been raised as to how the island’s tourism product will be impacted.
“It really depends on how bad this gets,” Chastanet said.
He went on to state, “I know the WHO and everybody is working collectively together to try to contain it as much as possible. Sadly, we are still dealing with a virus that we do not know a lot about and that is what makes it scarier is that it takes a person two weeks before they know they have the virus, so there is a lot that we are learning. Any virus that grows crazy and can have a substantial detriment not only on tourism but the whole global economy, everything can come to a potential standstill. Sadly we can only prepare for the worst and that’s what people are doing.”
Saint Lucia he says is working closely with the WHO and is following all protocols very carefully.