Dr Ralph Gonsalves, the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, says this country will not close its borders due to the spread of the coronavirus in the United States and other countries.
St Vincent has implemented a 14-day quarantine for persons arriving from a number of countries in Asia and Europe that have been significantly impacted by the virus.
“A big danger is facing us: coronavirus. We have to be careful that we don’t get hysterical about it. Some people getting hysterical,” Gonsalves told supporters of his Unity Labour Party at its West Kingstown constituency conference on Sunday.
“We have to find a resolution if anybody gets it in St Vincent and the Grenadines. But we can’t close ourselves off from the world.”— Gonsalves
“In addressing this, we have to contain the problem. We have to manage the problem. And we have to find a resolution if anybody gets it in St Vincent and the Grenadines. But we can’t close ourselves off from the world.”
He said that 4,000 people were in quarantine in New York, and there were 400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 there.
No confirmed cases
St Vincent has a large diaspora in New York, which is believed to be home to more Vincentians than the 110,000 persons living on the island.
“But let me ask this question. We have a lot of people in New York. They’re coming home to visit the family. You want to tell me I could stop them from coming to St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Gonsalves said.
While St Vincent has no confirmed cases of the illness, the Prime Minister said his government will take certain measures to contain the virus.
“You see there are a lot of people who talk and don’t think. Is not an easy business; is a complicated question,” Gonsalves said.
He said that the economies of the Caribbean are already suffering because people do not want to travel amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
“And in some cases, we are preventing some people from coming in depending on the circumstances. But if this thing spread wild in America and this thing spread wild in Canada and spread wild in England — in the United Kingdom — those three places you get the most tourists, what are we going to do?
“Are we going to lock off ourselves from the world or do we have to use some other kind of more carefully articulated strategies of containment?”