Philip J. Pierre presented 7 point Rescue Plan to defeat Coronavirus Pandemic:
1. Increase Testing and Tracing; licensing private labs to conduct COVID-19 tests and begin a secure online test results portal.
2. Develop Treatment Capacity; establishing an isolation facility in the south of the island.
– An additional facility in the north guarantees that persons who cannot safely isolate at home are not turned away as is currently being done.
– Let persons who can isolate themselves at home do so, electronically tagging them to monitor their whereabouts.
3. The Government should utilize the option of closing the borders to guests from the U.K. and the U.S. until the outbreak is brought under command.
4. There must be quick, widespread rapid-antigen testing for businesses and institutions where clusters have emerged. Special attention should be paid to hotels and call centers. Such testing management should require each staff member to take two viral tests within three days;
5. keep schools shut until the length of time it takes to reduce the frequency rate to below 5 cases per week over two weeks or when tests are readily available at our schools.
– Guarantee that all teachers and students have the necessary technology to facilitate online learning during that period.
– Recapitulate the National WI FI Program, which was supported by the Republic of China (Taiwan), again callously stopped by the government so that children can access the internet from their homes.
– Many children depended on the School Feeding Program; provides food vouchers or grants to the parents in need.
6. We require to immunize our population as quickly as possible. We believe that a pleasantly resourced vaccination program should aim to have 75% of our people at the earliest. This vaccination program should be voluntary and should be accompanied by an education campaign.
7. The Government must bring forward a second income support program for the next three to six months, as well as support to SMEs in the form of grants, not only loans.
We estimated that it will cost in the region of $120M in the next year. $45 million is for income support and SME assistance. $20 million for support for our education system, $55 million for health-related spending including testing and vaccination.
These interventions we believe are necessary to ensure we can protect lives while supporting livelihoods.
Pierre stated, “Unfortunately, this Government has lost the trust of the people.” He went on to say that “To rebuild this trust, I advise the country establishes a non-governmental COVID-19 Scientific, Technical & Research Group made up of a multidisciplinary cross-section of Saint Lucians to provide open and independent guidance to provide ongoing COVID-19 responses as the situation demands.”
He closed his statements by “I do not doubt that the Saint Lucian people will do what is necessary to crush COVID.”