Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell Tuesday said deaths linked to the coronavirus (COVID-19) “touch me deeply” as he reiterated a call for Grenadians to get vaccinated to deal with the impact of the pandemic.
Speaking briefly during the weekly post Cabinet news conference, Mitchell paid tribute to the front line health workers and other stakeholders, as well as visiting Grenadian health care workers whom he said were doing much to help curb the spread of the virus that has so far killed 130 people and infected 5,005 others since March last year.
“We have trained hundreds of doctors in this country…I have called on family members whether they have nurses and so on to come and give two weeks, we need you, your country needs you, we need everybody to come at this time,” he said.
In recent weeks, Grenada has recorded a number of deaths from the virus after having had one death up until August.
“I don’t think we will ever be able to come to terms as a human being the passing of any individual, particularly when it could have been avoided,” he said, adding that he wanted to take the opportunity to say “how touched I am and the fact that we are doing all that we can to be able to slow and stop the deaths that are occurring in the country at this time.
“I am also heartened to note the fact that we are seeing a drop in the infection rate which is a good sign, but that by itself does not mean we could drop our guard because we could see the drop today and we could be back up tomorrow if we get complacent,” Mitchell warned.
He said he was pleased with the vaccination and testing programmes being undertaken across the island and was also appreciative of several stakeholders, including businesses and public transport owners who were ensuring that the various health protocols were followed by the population.
“I saw one by a bus man that touched me where he was advising all bus men to observe the protocol,” Mitchell said, urging people to wear their mask properly and not to have it on as a fashion.
He reiterated a call for people to get vaccinated, saying “for me it is not a debate.
“To me this is so clear, I can’t understand how anyone can’t understand the clarity of this. If you have a situation where an action is taken, something is around like this virus and you seeing the statistics so clear where you see over 99 per cent in some countries, and the lowest I have seen so far is about 97, but that statistics is extremely high (and) persons that are dying from this COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
“My God, what else do we want? If you hear some stories about some vaccinated person dies or get sick with the virus, that’s very small, you might be talking about two or one per cent. My God, be on the side of the statistics, that’s what I will do.
“I am urging all our citizens to do what they have to protect themselves. This is about one’s own life, one’s family life,” Mitchell added.
But he said he still remains “confident, we have passed through many storms before, this is another, this is probably the biggest storm because no country has ever deal with a virus, a pandemic of the entire society which is what all countries in the world are facing”.
Meanwhile, an adjustment has been made to the Public Health (COVID-19) (Restrictions on Religious Institutions) Order regarding funeral services so as to reduce the exposure of the clergymen, funeral directors, and their agents as well as the family of the deceased.
“We are told that the possibility of the spread of the virus decrease in open spaces as opposed to an indoor environment. It is, for this reason, we have made the following decision as a follow to last week’s joint statement from Government, funeral directors, and the religious community,” said Reverend Sylbert Prescod, chairman of the Conference of Churches of Grenada.
Reading a prepared Joint statement by funeral directors, the religious community with the concurrence of the government, he said “all funerals whether they are persons dying from COVID-19 or other causes will be held at the cemetery and shall be no more than 20 persons and be for a duration of not more than one hour.”