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December 29, 2021
Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley
Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley

St Lucians warned for fifth COVID wave

St Lucians were on Monday warned of the potential of a fifth wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hitting the island.

Cletus Springer, the chairman of the country's COVID-19 Management Centre (CMC), said that St Lucians should not be surprised at "this news" because they had been "forewarned that such a development was inevitable".

"Fellow St Lucians, it's my unpleasant duty to tell you that all key indicators point to the start of a 5th wave of COVID-19 in St Lucia," Springer wrote on his Facebook page, adding that the month of December is one of "heightened social activity and international travel.

"From our daily updates over the past week, you will have already seen evidence of a dramatic upward trend across all indicators," he added.

Latest figures released by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs on Monday showed that 38 new cases of the COVID-19 had been recorded from a total of 345 samples, which were collected on December 25 and 26.

Springer said that the most recent data as of today shows that the rate of transmission has increased from 0.8 to 1.9, meaning that every infected person now infects nearly two people.


Mia blasted for calling snap election

Barbados' main opposition, the Democratic labour Party (DLP), has labelled Prime Minister Mia Mottley as uncaring for calling a snap general election in the midst of a pandemic, and urged supporters to boot the ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP) out of office on January 19 next year.

Mottley, in a radio ad television broadcast on Monday night, announced that Nomination Day will be on January 3, and that the polls were being held 18 months before her first term in office is due to end.

She said it was important for a united Barbados to face the new year and blamed what she termed the "silly season" for Barbadians being divided on the future socio-economic development of the island.

But in a statement, the DLP, which was swept out of office in 2018 by a 30-nil margin, described the move towards calling a snap election as "a dark day for our country".

"Truly were are in the silly season - but our people are not silly. In the midst of a pandemic and Omicron threatening, whilst still under a state of emergency, there is no compelling argument for an election to be called 17 months out, except to be self-serving. This is not what we expect of sound leadership," said DLP president, Verla De Peiza.

She said that "it is clear that the government of the day has succumbed to feelings of panic and that the nation's first call which is its people's safety has been set aside to pursue selfish ends which expose our people to great harm and possible death".


Gunmen kill seven passengers on two public transport buses

Haitian police are searching for gunmen who shot and killed seven passengers and injured several others in two incidents on Monday.

The authorities said that the gunmen, who had hidden themselves in houses, fired upon the public transport minibuses on a road near Martissant, a communal section of the City of Port-au-Prince.

In the first instance, four passengers were shot and killed and four others injured, while in the second attack, a minibus carrying 18 passengers was shot at, killing three people including a woman and injuring four others.

The drivers said they were forced to seek refuge at the police station of Martissant with the surviving passengers.

The authorities have so far released the names of three of those killed but have given no motive for the attacks.


Fully vaxxed traveller takes Omicron to St Vincent

A fully vaccinated adult traveller from the United States of America tested positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

It is the first time that the Omicron variant of concern is being detected in the Caribbean country.

The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) said the traveller, who had a negative COVID-19 test result, had been subjected to further testing on arrival.

"This person has been isolated," NEMO said in a statement, adding that it had also been informed by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) that sequencing results of samples for December 2021 suggest that the Delta variant is now the dominant Variant of Concern (VOC) in here, displacing the Lambda variant," NEMO said.

The island has recorded 81 COVID-19 deaths since March 2020 from among 5,843 cases.

"In view of the confirmed presence of the Delta, Mu and Gamma variants in the community and the significant increase in the number of new infections, transmission, severe COVID-19 disease and deaths, strict enforcement and compliance with all protocols and recommendations by everyone is strongly recommended."

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