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Minister of Health, Jimmy Prince. (File photo by Lance Neverson/Facebook)
Minister of Health, Jimmy Prince. (File photo by Lance Neverson/Facebook)

Minister of Health St. Clair “Jimmy” Prince, on Wednesday, told Parliament that the COVID-19 situation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines does not meet the World Health Organisation definition of “community transmission”.

He further said his government did not drop the ball as it relates to managing the spread.

Prince was responding to a question by Opposition Leader, Godwin Friday, who noted that there has been a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in SVG in recent weeks with most of the positive cases involving persons with no recent travel history.

“Will the minister agree that this situation means that there is community spread of the disease in this country, and will he further agree that the government dropped the ball by failing to put in force effective measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines?” Friday asked.

As of Wednesday, SVG had recorded 798 cases of the virus, 657 of which were local cases — cases detected among residents with no recent travel history.

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The local cases began to emerge on Dec. 28.

Responding to the opposition leader’s question, the health minister noted the WHO’s March 13, 2020 definition of “community transmission”.

“Community transmission is evidenced by the inability to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases, or by increasing positive tests through sentinel samples (routine systematic testing of respiratory samples from established laboratories),” the WHO says.

Prince noted that the official WHO definition does not reference “no recent travel history”.

He said that for the majority of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in SVG, the chains of transmission have been identified as contacts of known positive cases and, therefore, not in keeping with the definition of community transmission.

Rather, the transmission patterns currently being found are more in keeping with clusters of cases, defined as cases that are clustered in time, geographical location and or by common exposures, Prince told Parliament.

“There are clusters associated with ministerial departments, churches, parties, private sector workplaces and families,” the health minister said.

“Many of these clusters have linkages. This categorisation is the one assigned to St. Vincent and the Grenadines by PAHO in the COVID-19 situation update 115 issued on Jan. 22, 2021.”

Prince said that his ministry’s epidemiology unit will continuously review the transmission patterns to determine what category best describes the disease in SVG as this categorisation contributes to the various strategic interventions implemented in the battle against COVID-19 in SVG.

He said that the government did not mismanage the spread of the viral illness.  

“The government did not drop the ball,” Prince said.

“Rather, the extensive measures implemented succeeded in preventing the rise in cases of COVID-19 in SVG for 10 months, which was seen in every neighbouring country throughout 2020.

He noted that between March 11 and Dec. 26, 2020, this country recorded 110 cases even as neighbouring countries such as St. Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad, Martinique, and Barbados were experiencing “scores of cases for months”.

“The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, through a NEMO-coordinated response led by the Health Services Sub Committee, working closely with the Ministry of National Security, implemented continuously and adapted measures in keeping with the constantly-changing knowledge and epidemiology of the COVID-19 pandemic and local events and situations,” he said.

“Close attention was paid to measures implemented in other nations, their successes and their failures, emerging knowledge about the virus and measures suitable to the context of the multi-island state that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is.  And, these were developed.

“The multi-pronged strategy included reducing the risk of the introduction of the virus into St. Vincent and the Grenadines, while strengthening the country’s capacity to detect, test, treat and contain the virus,” the health minister said.

“Poor compliance with existing protocols while persons are outside the mandatory quarantine hotels is without doubt a problem. This is not unique to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and is found in countries even with draconian measures,” Prince told Parliament.   

11 replies on “‘Govt did not drop’ COVID-19 ball — Health Minister”

    1. You are fake news brainwashed. Trump is far more honest than both Biden or Obama! evidence shows that Obama practically has never told the truth about anything ever! But you are correct that this man is talking bull, because they follow failed “science” policy of other governments. There is no surprise it did not work….instead, blame the people.

    1. You are right! At least someone pays attention. Bill Gates is possibly the biggest contributor to the WHO. He has a vaccine/population reduction agenda. He has stated that hundreds of times in public!!! Now he says it is conspiracy theory…LOL!
      Trump discredited the WHO and tried to encourage the state governments not to lock-up the people. California and NY ignored him and now they are the biggest sh*t h*le places in America. People are running out of those places as fast as they can. Florida and Texas are the opposite. Biden is now trying to slowly implement Trump’s suggestions secretly…What a laugh!

  1. Nonsensical stuff from the minister of Health. In any event I would like to know, going forward, what are the plans to control the virus. I hope those who have responsibility for the nation’s health understand how very quickly this whole ting can spin out of control. This is no longer simple math of adding one thing to the other. Not only does it change from addition to multiplication, but the numbers being multiplied get larger and larger. Then we very quickly have a disaster that boils over faster than the volcano.
    So what are the plans? Are we going to continue bringing in infected people from the 2 most infected places on the planet: Florida and UK? Are we going to let the yachts keep by-passing our check points? Why are infected people from UK allowed to come through Mustique without the restrictions placed on others? Private businesses, for the most part, are doing a good job in demanding customers wear masks. But mask-wearing needs to be more comprehensive.
    Can we know what is the treatment protocol, what medicines are administered and the timing for infected and otherwise compromised patients? Are the care services being enlarged?

    1. Another brainwashed fool. How well has it worked by locking everyone inside? Oh! it made it worse! You mention Florida. I fail to see in any news that Florida is the most infected place! More fake news! The worst place is New York because Cuomo locked all the old people into nursing homes. Now he is under investigation for murder! What about NY hospitals where you go in without the virus and you only leave as a cadaver? You seemed to have missed that Governor Newsome of Californiia was an inch away from getting kicked out as governor because of the failed policy you suggest for SVG, so he magically ended the lockdowns. He was caught twice going to parties with his friends, without a mask because he knows it is bull.
      Why don’t you tell this side of the story instead of fake news?

  2. Cluster Crap! It is just what the EU named it. It is a community spread virus. Ralph had warning about leaving the door open. The increase happened right after the election, when voters from the diaspora went home to vote for ULP. The sum was less that a 50 some weeks ago, then suddenly is moved to more the 500. This system was handled bad, bad, bad from the start. Guess what! It will now take several years to get rid of the virus. For America and other infected countries 2024. For SVG with little or no recourses to fix the virus – 2025 or 6.

  3. Ignorant is a curse. Friday should know better than to ask Jimmy if government drop the ball. We really have some nincompoops in governance. This is the hands of the almighty. If you believe in the one most high you all should really start praying. Here in the US will you have gone and ask trump who dropped the ball. He himself did mot take it seriously. Lots lost their loved ones and over 500 thousand deaths and hundred of thousand recuperate. You all there in saint Vincent need your head sapped with bush it will make you all wake up. We are suffering here. You people boil up a lot of bush tea and drink lots of lemon and oranges. Stop blaming each other for gods work. Only two died thanks be to god.

  4. Definition of community
    1 : a unified body of individuals: such as
    a : the people with common interests living in a particular area
    broadly : the area itself
    the problems of a large community
    b : a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society
    a community of retired persons
    a monastic community
    c : a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society
    the academic community
    the scientific community
    d : a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests
    the international community
    e : a group linked by a common policy
    f : an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (such as species) in a common location

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