NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS – Premier Hon. Mark Brantley is advising the people of Nevis not to become complacent about the COVID-19 situation on the island as the circumstances could change at any time.
On Wednesday, June 16, 2021, Premier Brantley, Senior Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), was a special guest on WINN FM’s The Island Tea Morning show with hosts Azem Bailey, Jade Johnson and Kevon Hanley. He responded to questions about the NIA Cabinet’s decision to keep the island’s economy open for commerce and work while under the partial lock down, businesses and government offices on St. Kitts were closed and movement of people restricted to accessing essential services.
“The situation is evolving; COVID is a very fluid situation. We can only respond to the evidence that is available to us and make decisions as leaders on the advice that we have at that time.
“I think you would have realized that yesterday [June 15] we would have promulgated even further restrictions and a limited State of Emergency was declared and also of course we would have repealed and replaced the [Statutory Rules and Orders] SR&O that was discussed by the Hon. Attorney General [Vincent Byron Jr.] on Saturday. So here he was discussing a set of regulations and by Tuesday those had been repealed and replaced.
“I say that to say that while I appreciate some level of consternation in the public, we also have to appreciate that this is a fluid situation and as new and better evidence comes to light we adjust. That’s why in my own address, even though I said at that point Saturday evening there were no cases in Nevis since March 16, that we have to be prepared that if cases were to come then additional actions would become necessary.”
Since the May 19, 2021 outbreak of the virus in the Federation, Nevis recorded one positive case on June 15, 2021. St. Kitts is monitoring 207 active cases. The Federation recorded its first COVID-19 related death on June 17, 2021.
Premier Brantley renewed his plea for persons to take the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine available for free at all health centres on the island. As at June 15, 4,948 persons on Nevis had received their first dose of the vaccine and 2,660 had received their second dose. This accounts for 31 percent of the island’s 8,594 target population.
He said by achieving herd immunity against the virus St. Kitts and Nevis could avoid the lockdowns and curfews, “getting us to a position where we can re-open our country and we can have our way of life back.
“We are in a situation where in a very real way our future lies in our hands. This is not now only up to the government. This is up to every person out there–every young person, every not so young person, every citizen every resident–because we have been told by the doctors and by the science that the vaccine is the answer to COVID-19, and we have a tremendous level of vaccine hesitancy still in the community.
“So it is difficult for me as the Premier to say where we are going to be in three months unless our people come to the realization that where we are going to be, is in a very real way, dependent on them. My hope is that our people will go out and get vaccinated. We will get our numbers up to the point where we are comfortable enough to open our borders and open our doors. Our people have to step up.”