Local health officials on Monday (March 9) refuted claims that St Lucia had confirmed its first case of the coronavirus, which was formally named COVID-19.
According to a source from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, recent news circulating on WhatsApp and other social media platforms are not correct and only seek to spread panic in the island.
One of the news stories in question, appears to bear the name of a legitimate local media house, however once individuals click on the story they are not redirected to an official site.
National Epidemiologist, Dr Michelle Francois, on March 6 noted that given that the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) had upgrade the Caribbean’s risk assessment from low to moderate high, Saint Lucia would be stepping up measures to protect the country.
According to Francois, the country will be increasing the number of public health staff at both ports of entry (air and sea) to enforce the relevant regulations and protocols.
While Francois empathized with the nation’s people, particularly as new cases are recorded in negihbouring island states, she encouraged St Lucians to move from panic to preparation.
Saint Lucia still has no local testing available for COVID-19, specimens from suspected cases are transported to the Ezra Long laboratory at the Victoria Hospital and are later transferred to CARPHA