The government of Saint Lucia announced that effective Monday, May 18, businesses are permitted to recommence full operations, in their normal location and within business hours, on the condition they adhere to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) safety measures issued by the Ministry of Health. Details on required protocols can be found on the government's website and the Ministry of Commerce's website. Official government approval is no longer required before resuming operations. Authorities also plan to allow tourism to resume as of Thursday, June 4.
Despite the reopening of the economic sectors, other restrictions remain in place. A national state of emergency is in effect until at least the end of May. Educational institutions are still closed and social gatherings, including cinemas and mass crowd events, are prohibited. Between May 18 and Sunday, May 31, a curfew will be imposed between 21:00 and 05:00 (local time). Saint Lucia closed its borders on Monday, March 23, and all commercial flights are currently suspended.
As of Tuesday, May 19, Saint Lucia has confirmed 18 cases of COVID-19, with no associated deaths, and the government has reported that all cases have fully recovered. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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