Grenada’s PM updates CARICOM colleagues on country’s COVID-19 status; endorses call for closer collaboration

Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada
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(Government Information Service of Grenada Press Release) Prime Minister, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, has used Monday’s 16th Emergency Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government to bring his colleague Heads up to date on Grenada’s current COVID-19 situation, and also endorsed a call for countries to work closer together in managing the pandemic.

Dr. Mitchell shared that Grenada is in crisis, given the exponential rate of infections and the number of deaths experienced in recent weeks. He identified a field hospital as one of the pressing needs for the country at the moment, a call which he said was repeatedly referenced during Monday’s dialogue.

The Grenadian leader said, “For many months, we witnessed what was happening in other countries but now the problem has arrived on our doorsteps, and compared to some countries, we are in an even worse position. We are seeing an exponential increase in the rate of infections among the local population and several deaths have occurred. The situation is dire and we need urgent support for our medical professionals. A field hospital is one our critical needs at this point in time. I fear that our system is on the verge of being overrun and we could have a serious problem.”

Grenada currently has 2,063 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 2,646 cases confirmed since the country recorded its first case last year. The number of COVID-19 deaths which remained constant at one for several months, has ballooned in recent weeks, and now stands at 35.

Dr. Mitchell told his CARICOM colleagues that both health and security personnel are included in the number of infected persons, putting an additional burden on already stretched resources.

Just as he has been doing at the local level, the Prime Minister has cited a need for greater collaboration at the regional level.

He said, “Given the level of vaccine hesitancy across the region, we need to collectively and strategically identify messages that reach our Caribbean nationals. We also need to get stakeholders on board, the religious community, business leaders and trade union representatives – we must engage in discussions and come up with joint positions so that we can speak with one voice on issues such as vaccination.”

With the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly scheduled for later this month, Dr. Mitchell said it should be an opportunity used by Caribbean countries to lobby for help to address the pandemic.

He said, “I think all countries should issue strong statements on the impact of COVID-19, the dire situation that exists in many of our countries and lobby for the support of donor countries. The region requires the support of friendly countries to help us get through this crisis. We applaud all efforts made to date, such as vaccine donations and medical supplies, but our needs are great and we must work collectively to get through this.”

At the end of his intervention at the meeting, the Grenadian Prime Minister commended the current chairman, his colleague, Prime Minister, Honourable Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda for organising the session on such short notice. He also recognised other colleague Heads of Government for making themselves available to participate in the emergency session.

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