It’s coming: Grenada’s Health Minister warns second COVID wave is near

Grenada’s Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele (Photo courtesy of the United Nations)

Health Minister Nickolas Steele has urged Grenadian citizens to be prepared for the second wave of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Steele, speaking at a virtual press conference on Friday (June 5), advised the nation to continue complying with the health regulations that require persons to wear masks in the public.

“We have achieved a significant milestone, in that, three of our remaining four active COVID-19 cases are now medically cleared, which means that Grenada is now down to one active case of COVID-19,” he told the news conference.

Grenada has recorded 23 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19. The last person testing positive was one of the 45 cruise ship workers who were repatriated last Sunday, May 31.

Steele, who gave credit to the dedicated health professionals, for the island’s status said that the battle against the virus which has killed more than 760,000 people and infected more than6.7 million others worldwide, has not yet been won.

“We cannot drop our guards. We have seen from world examples, how unpredictable this disease is, and how, just when it’s believed to be under control, it can resurface, and again pose significant challenges for health systems,” he said, warning citizens to be prepared for the second wave of the pandemic.

“We must, by no means, believe that the worst is over. We must prepare for a second wave, especially as we gradually open our borders to safeguard our economy. We must expect to see further cases here on Island and we must prepare for such an eventuality,” Steele added.

Grenada is targeting June 30 as the date to commence international commercial passenger traffic and Steele said that as the authorities allow more sectors to open domestically, during the month, the authorities will continue to test the island’s systems and ensure that it is fit for purpose for when the borders are open.

“But we cannot do it alone. This period has been about partnership. Our Grenadian people and sectors have come together and have successfully battled an unprecedented health crisis, so far. We count on that same partnership to maintain or improve our containment strategies going forward,” he said.

Health Minister Steele argued that the government is doing its part, along with frontline workers in health and law enforcement and that the private sector, through all its challenges, must continue to do their part because of its critical role in the economic life and the livelihood of Grenada.

“A significant proportion of our population is also doing its part and we are grateful to all those who have been with us in this battle. We urge those of you who are not yet compliant in following the guidelines to please do so, now more than ever, so that we can eventually live and thrive in this new normal,” he contended.

“Wear your masks when out in public; wash your hands frequently with soap and water; and above all, practice physical distancing of at least six feet. We know that as a social people, physical distancing is difficult, but it is necessary in preventing the contraction of the disease, and in saving lives,” he said.

“We know that wearing masks in public is unnatural and uncomfortable, but that is crucial in limiting the spread of the disease and in saving lives,” Steele said, adding that Grenada has proudly joined the ranks of nations that have dealt with the first wave of pandemic.