by Eulana Weekes
St Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – Dr Cameron Wilkinson Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N France General Hospital praised the people of St. Kitts and Nevis for showing great unity and perseverance during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he tempered his gratitude with an urge that the community not drop its guard against the virus.
The numbers prove that St. Kitts and Nevis has punched above its weight in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. This sentiment was shared by Dr Cameron Wilkinson in an exclusive interview with WINN FM News today (March 24).
“I believe our success in the fight was due to the fact that we in health and the Taskforce were given the latitude to make decisions based on scientific evidence and the facts as they unfolded and it was devoid of any political interference,” Dr Wilkinson said.
“I want to put on record my commendation to the Prime Minister and his cabinet for the astute leadership provided in this crisis. We called for an all of society approach in this fight and many responded. We were able to unite the country for the most part in our efforts to defeat this invisible foe for which we had no blueprint of past experience to guide us. It was because we remained united in our efforts that we were successful. I do believe that as we begin to emerge from the stranglehold that COVID 19 has had on our everyday life, that it will be our combined efforts that will take us into a successful post-pandemic era for the benefit of every citizen of this Federation.”
Dr Wilkinson recalled a Cabinet briefing in early 2020 where discussions were had to prepare for the deadly virus. He believes that from the onset the right decisions were made, which contributed to the successful management of the pandemic.
The St. Kitts – Nevis vaccination report for both Tuesday and Wednesday (March 22-23) reads that there are no confirmed active cases in the Federation at present. According to the World Health Organisation, COVID-19 has claimed over 6 million lives globally and registered 472 million cases to date.
“We have gotten through the worst period of this pandemic relatively unscathed compared to many Nations great and small, far and near, with only 42 deaths, many of which were preventable. Today we have, zero patients hospitalized in St. Kitts and Nevis, the COVID wards have been closed for four weeks on both islands, zero active cases in St. Kitts and Nevis, one of the highest adult vaccination coverage in the region without a government mandate with 82.2 percent of adults with one shot and 77.7 percent fully vaccinated. We now have sufficient population immunity through vaccination and infection to absorb more risk and move forward boldly but safely.”
Following the Monday, March 21 cabinet briefing, several decisions were made by the National COVID 19 Taskforce.
“Like others, I read what was posted in the post-cabinet briefing. It spoke to the return to full in-class learning and the removal of the shift system that was still in place for a couple of schools, that there will soon be amendments to the protocol for entry where we will see a change to the use of a negative rapid antigen test within 24hrs of entry instead of the negative PCR test, also that a green light was given to hosting a near-normal culturama.”
Though there has been a gradual easing of restrictions in the country, Wilkinson reminded the people that the Pandemic is not over.
He explained that zero confirmed cases do not mean zero cases; adding that, with our open borders and the Coronavirus still circulating globally, we can again see positive cases.
Dr Wilkinson urged public vigilance and a continuation of non-pharmaceuticals actions, like sanitising and wearing a mask, even more so with mass gatherings allowed. More importantly, he said, “it’s important to get vaccinated and boosted.”
Doctor Wilkinson expressed gratitude to all who stepped forward and assisted when the nation faced its darkest hour, hoping that everyone enjoys the sunshine of our success moving forward.