Categorized | International, Local, News, Regional

St. Vincent bans nationals from three West African States due to Ebola scare

Ebola_860328322St. Vincent, Oct 15, CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines has placed a ban on nationals from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Guinea entering the island, as Caribbean countries continue to put in place measures to deal with a possible outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the region.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said that the measure was taken given the lack of infrastructure on the island to deal with the Ebola virus for which there is no known cure.

Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are the three West African countries most affected by the Ebola virus.

“Because we didn’t consider that we had the infrastructure, necessarily, to deal with an onrush of people if they were to come from any of those West African countries which we have named specifically,” Gonsalves said.

On Tuesday, the Grenada government said it was considering suspending travel visas to nationals from the West African countries, noting that with the mortality rates climbing in the affected countries and the potential of spread becoming more and more eminent, the move to suspend the visa could soon be taken.

“Amidst tougher immigration and border control restrictions currently being employed in some countries and contemplated by others, the Government has decided to adapt this measure in the best interest of safeguarding the Public Health of the country.”

The Keith Mitchell government said that the measure is being discussed against the “background that there is no readily available vaccine to protect ones-self against the disease, no available medicines to treat the condition and the recognition that the introduction of one case of the disease could potentially undermine the health and financial infrastructure of the country”.

Prime Minister Gonsalves said that the head of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr. James Hospedales will address his cabinet on the Chikungunya and Ebola viruses on Wednesday.

Health ministers from the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) are meeting here over the next two days to discuss strategies to deal with the viruses.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gonsalves said he would be leading a three-member delegation to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) summit to be held in Cuba on Monday, where the Ebola virus, which has claimed over 4,500 lives in West Africa will be discussed.

“What they want to do is to have us share our experiences and to have us have a discussion on the issues professionally — the professionals will advise and we’ll take some decisions as heads in ALBA as to how can we address this issue nationally, regionally and globally, because it is a national problem, it’s a regional problem, it’s a global problem,” he said.

Gonsalves, who recently returned home from Havana where he had been receiving medical treatment for a muscle injury, said Cuba has a facility training people to deal with the Ebola virus.

“That’s an important area in which we have to get involved — how we are doing the training, what a practical facility would be like,” he said, adding that he had asked the Chief Medical Officer to prepare a document to present at the summit outlining the measures so far undertaken by the island to deal with a possible Ebola case.

Gonsalves said he had also spoken to the Director-General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Dr. Didacus Jules to ensure that the sub-region represented at the summit.

Gonsalves said the OECS is looking to have an appropriate Cuban professional headquartered at the St. Lucia-based organisation to help coordinate training and other arrangements.

“And I know that the risk factor in relation o Ebola for the Caribbean is very low, so too is it for Europe and North America, yet we see the kind of a scare and even hysteria that can be generated, even in a large country like the US of A, so we have to make preparations,” Gonsalves said.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Ebola_860328322St. Vincent, Oct 15, CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines has placed a ban on nationals from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Guinea entering the island, as Caribbean countries continue to put in place measures to deal with a possible outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the region.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said that the measure was taken given the lack of infrastructure on the island to deal with the Ebola virus for which there is no known cure.

Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are the three West African countries most affected by the Ebola virus.

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“Because we didn’t consider that we had the infrastructure, necessarily, to deal with an onrush of people if they were to come from any of those West African countries which we have named specifically,” Gonsalves said.

On Tuesday, the Grenada government said it was considering suspending travel visas to nationals from the West African countries, noting that with the mortality rates climbing in the affected countries and the potential of spread becoming more and more eminent, the move to suspend the visa could soon be taken.

“Amidst tougher immigration and border control restrictions currently being employed in some countries and contemplated by others, the Government has decided to adapt this measure in the best interest of safeguarding the Public Health of the country.”

The Keith Mitchell government said that the measure is being discussed against the “background that there is no readily available vaccine to protect ones-self against the disease, no available medicines to treat the condition and the recognition that the introduction of one case of the disease could potentially undermine the health and financial infrastructure of the country”.

Prime Minister Gonsalves said that the head of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr. James Hospedales will address his cabinet on the Chikungunya and Ebola viruses on Wednesday.

Health ministers from the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) are meeting here over the next two days to discuss strategies to deal with the viruses.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gonsalves said he would be leading a three-member delegation to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) summit to be held in Cuba on Monday, where the Ebola virus, which has claimed over 4,500 lives in West Africa will be discussed.

“What they want to do is to have us share our experiences and to have us have a discussion on the issues professionally — the professionals will advise and we’ll take some decisions as heads in ALBA as to how can we address this issue nationally, regionally and globally, because it is a national problem, it’s a regional problem, it’s a global problem,” he said.

Gonsalves, who recently returned home from Havana where he had been receiving medical treatment for a muscle injury, said Cuba has a facility training people to deal with the Ebola virus.

“That’s an important area in which we have to get involved — how we are doing the training, what a practical facility would be like,” he said, adding that he had asked the Chief Medical Officer to prepare a document to present at the summit outlining the measures so far undertaken by the island to deal with a possible Ebola case.

Gonsalves said he had also spoken to the Director-General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Dr. Didacus Jules to ensure that the sub-region represented at the summit.

Gonsalves said the OECS is looking to have an appropriate Cuban professional headquartered at the St. Lucia-based organisation to help coordinate training and other arrangements.

“And I know that the risk factor in relation o Ebola for the Caribbean is very low, so too is it for Europe and North America, yet we see the kind of a scare and even hysteria that can be generated, even in a large country like the US of A, so we have to make preparations,” Gonsalves said.