St. Lucians urged not to discriminate against Asians amid coronavirus fears

The Ministry of Health and Wellness on Tuesday said that St Lucians should not participate in acts of discrimination towards people of Asian descent.

The ministry’s comments come as they say they have been made aware of some acts of discrimination levelled toward people who appear to be of Asian descent.

While the ministry acknowledges that the most recent strain of the coronavirus, COVID-19, originated in China, it noted that everyone is at risk of being infected with the virus, irrespective of their race or nationality.

“As the Department of Health and Wellness note that COVID-19 is closer to our borders, we encourage Saint Lucians to avoid panic but rather to focus on preparation. We have been providing guidance on the importance of infection prevention and control which includes hand washing, cough etiquette and the management of respiratory illnesses,” said the Ministry in a release on Tuesday.

The ministry has further encouraged the nation’s to people to show compassion and empathy to all as at this time stigmatizing and discriminating against any member of our society takes away from our efforts at preparedness.

Dr. Sharon Belmar-George used the occasion to remind St Lucian to remain focus on the maintenance of standard recommendations to prevent the spread of infection. These include:

Regular hand washing with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer where soap and water is not available.

Cover mouth and nose with disposable tissues or clothing when coughing and sneezing.

Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Seek medical attention and share your travel history with your health care provider if you have symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel..