Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 15, 2020 (SKNIS): Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph Nathaniel France General Hospital, said that the Federation must learn to live with the Coronavirus as it is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Dr. Wilkinson made this statement during his appearance on the virtual forum series “Leadership Matters” on July 14.
Here in the Federation there are 17 confirmed cases, 15 recovered and two active now, he said.
“The virus is not going anywhere and the reality now is that we have to learn to live with it,” he said. “We however, cannot afford to drop our guard and become complacent as I saw happening over the last few weeks.”
The Medical Chief of Staff stated that the two recent cases should serve as a wake-up call.
In light of this, questions are still being posed to health officials on when to open the borders. Dr. Wilkinson said that persons should be aware that lifting the borders will come with a risk of importation of the virus.
“If we are to aim for zero risks with the virus entering the federation we will have to wait for an effective vaccine and immunity of our population,” he said. “That will not be for another year with the most optimistic expectations. It is neither realistic nor desirable to aim for zero risks.”
“Zero risks will require continued closure of our borders and the concomitant economic hardships that will come with that position. We cannot survive the virus, but die from social and economic hardships,” said the Medical Chief of Staff.
Dr. Wilkinson said that there are several pertinent questions to ask before the borders can be opened.
“The questions to be asked are how long can we survive economically with the continued closure of our borders bearing in mind that tourism is our major income generator, what level of risks are we willing to accept in opening our borders and what measures can we put in place to mitigate these risks,” he said.
The Medical Chief of Staff emphasized that it must be clear to all that as attempts are made to get back to some sense of normalcy and generate social and economic activity in the country, that the nation will have to live with COVID-19.
“We got your support in successfully containing the first wave of the virus and we are calling upon you again to fight in the second wave to contain the virus,” he said. “This has to be an all of society approach for us to be successful. This is not merely a health decision as some believe.”