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St. Kitts and Nevis battles economic effects of COVID-19

Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2020. 11:29 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The newly-re-elected government of St. Kitts and Nevis led by Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris battles on against the economic effects of COVID-19, according to Caribbean Network Weekly.

Prime Minister Harris told a news conference that “We continue to listen, review and help our beloved citizens and residents where and when we can. All we have done with respect to our stimulus package in excess of EC$120 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) we have done without borrowing one cent.”

“We are alone in this fiscal space, and we thank God for His blessings. Our savings, however, are limited, and the Federal government has reprioritized its expenditures for 2020 to allow us to respond to COVID-19 and the huge threat it poses for the displaced, unemployed, poor, and needy in our country.”

According to Harris, the twin-island federation was among the first in the region to close borders and among the last to now open up. St. Kitts moved carefully, he said, focusing on low-risk and critical sectors for first business including agriculture and fisheries, then moving on to construction and manufacturing, and so on.

Notably, tourism remains closed, but churches are open and schools will be too, in September.

St. Kitts-Nevis has reported 17 cases of the virus that was first detected in China last December and linked to 741,000 deaths and the infection of 20.3 million others worldwide. The twin-island Federation has not recorded any deaths.

Harris said that despite the present scenario, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is still very fluid and challenging and the statistics change from day to day.

He said the experiences elsewhere in countries large and small have shown that as the countries relaxed restrictions too quickly, after their apparent success at controlling the virus, they suffer a resurgence.

“The moral: never become complacent. It is not over until it is really over. Germany, Spain, and Denmark have recently introduced drastic measures, including lockdown to curb the spiraling of COVID-19 cases. Bahamas, Belize, Aruba, and other countries in our region have done likewise,” Harris said as he repeated the mantras of wearing of masks, regular handwashing and use of etiquette for coughing and sneezing and social distancing.

Harris also said that government offices and businesses, including operators of buses, bars and restaurants, must not allow anyone entry who is not wearing a mask appropriately.

“The fine for not wearing masks in the company of others in public can be avoided by simply wearing or carrying your mask with you at all times. It can be a life-saving measure in the absence of a vaccine,” he added.


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