‘We have been fortunate’ in fighting COVID-19, but we are threatened with poverty due to job losses, Darroux tells UN

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Kenneth Darroux has told the international community that Dominica has been fortunate thus far in fighting the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.

 “The reality is that, small island developing states like Dominica already face several inherent challenges and the added consequences of the Covid-19 Pandemic have further exacerbated these difficulties, including the limitation of funds to protect the health and well-being of our citizens,” Darroux said while addressing the 75th United Nations (UN) General Assembly on Wednesday.

Dr.Darroux continued, “Mr. President, fellow delegates, the Commonwealth of Dominica recorded its first case of the dreaded Covid-19 virus on March 20th,2020 and we have been fortunate thus far to have only 30 confirmed cases of which only 6 are currently active, with no recorded deaths.”

Since then the Ministry of Health has confirmed one more active case of the coronavirus in the country.

The Foreign Affairs Minister explained that when Dominica recorded its first active case of Covid-19 the government immediately imposed responsible measures in accordance with World Health Organization’s [WHO] standards and protocols.

“Our government adopted a series of containment measures which included enforcement of curfew hours and the closure of all ports of entry, educational institutions, non essential businesses and public services for a period of 3 months,” he said.

Dr. Darroux pointed out that as a result of these actions and with the support of every citizen, the country united in a collective fight against the pandemic.

“A fight which resulted in the Commonwealth of Dominica being ranked very highly among countries that have remained steadfast in their goals of reducing and eliminating all active cases of the pandemic over the past 8 months,” he noted.

He went on to say that unfortunately, despite Dominica’s best efforts, health experts have now informed the government that, “we must ready our population for a second wave” adding that it is therefore, “the sober, moral and ethical duty” of leaders who appreciate the work of the experts to serve notice to their citizens.

He said at every level of Dominica’s response to Covid-19, “We have respected the fundamental rights and freedoms of all our citizens.”

Dr. Darroux went on to say that the government remains committed to ensuring that all citizens who are infected are properly treated and cared for, while at the same time continuing to give regular services to all citizens.

“Students have returned to their schools and businesses are operating once more in their new normal,” he noted.

However, Dr. Darroux acknowledged that the job losses to many citizens, particularly those working in the tourism industry which have been caused by the crisis, “threatens to undermine the development gains that we have made and to plunge many of our citizens into poverty.”

The theme for the 75th UN General Assembly is “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism – confronting COVID-19 through effective multilateral action.”

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