Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 01, 2020 (SKNIS): Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Hazel Laws has stated that St. Kitts and Nevis must reopen its borders with minimum risks.

She said that there must be a careful balance between the public health measures and the facilitation of economic activity.

The CMO was at the time speaking at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) Press Briefing on September 30. She reminded that that borders were closed on March 25. It has now been six months and there has been no tourist arrivals over that period resulting in a decrease in income and a decrease in government revenue and taxes, she said.

“The aim is to reopen our borders safely with minimum risk of re-introduction of the virus,” she said. “At present, all the relevant stakeholders, including the Ministry of Health and the various subsectors in the tourism subsector, they are presently developing appropriate protocols to ensure the safety of our people.”

Dr. Laws noted that the government needs the cooperation of the general public regarding the adherence to the prevention measures—the wearing of the face masks, the hand hygiene, sanitation, physical distancing, social distancing because when we do reopen our borders we have to adhere to these prevention measures in order to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases,” she said. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we must prevent a second lockdown.”

The Chief Medical Officer noted that looking at other countries, the lockdowns have frozen entire economies. She added that the second lockdown is usually much longer than the first.

St. Kitts and Nevis is preparing for the second wave of COVID-19 cases or reintroduction of cases, says Dr. Laws. She said that the medical team has developed the “St. Kitts and Nevis Guidelines for the clinical management of moderate to severe COVID-19 disease.”

“When we do see that second wave of cases, we may have individuals who may become severely ill or even become critically ill and so we are ready to manage such cases,” said the Chief Medical Officer. “So, two Continuous Medical Education (CME) sessions are scheduled for October 07 and 14, and all medical practitioners within the Federation are invited to attend these sessions.”

Sessions will be held face to face and virtually.