by Linda Straker
- Non-traditional international travel routes for medical supplies to arrive safely
- Venezuela providing logistical support
- Cuba and China contributed medical supplies and personnel
Health Minister, Nickolas Steele, said that Grenada is using non-traditional international travel routes to have medical supplies for Covid-19 arrive safely on the island. As part of that strategy, Venezuela is one of the countries contributing to this humanitarian measure.
“Venezuela has been providing logistical support,” Steele said in a news conference on Thursday, informing journalists that a Venezuelan aircraft is scheduled to arrive at Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) with more testing equipment. “This is the second time that they have been providing general logistics for us, but not just us, but for other islands in the OECS.” He named Dominica, and St Vincent and the Grenadines as among the other islands who have benefitted from the humanitarian vesture offered by the Government of Venezuela.
International travel via both land and sea has significantly reduced because of the Covid-19 pandemic and that has caused countries worldwide to explore and use other measures for medical supplies and food to arrive at intended destinations.
Explaining that the logistics for medical supplies arrive to on island is now one of Grenada’s biggest challenges, Steele said that the non-traditional route involves the services of the Venezuelan aircraft.
“In the last week, this has been one of our biggest challenges. A lot of our equipment is procured. We have been fortunate enough to avoid equipment in the USA still but in order to get it here we have had to find non-traditional ways and that is where we have to thank the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” he told journalists who participated in the virtual news conference.
As part of continuously improving the island’s ability to fight the Covid-19 contagion, Grenada recently became capable to test for the virus on island through an arrangement with St George’s University, WINDREF – the university’s Research Department; the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and PAHO.
The Ministry of Health and the administrators of the General Hospital began using a specially prepared 10-bed isolation unit for patients who will require hospital care. The health minister also reported that appointed ambassadors around the world for Grenada, several private sector persons and corporate bodies are also contributing to the cause, while Cuba and China have contributed medical supplies and personnel. “It is because of them that we are at this level of preparedness and ability to deal with the threat.” Steele said that Grenada, which presently has 12 confirmed cases, 3 of whom are hospitalised, but in stable condition is “not out of the woods.”
Some developed nations such as Germany and France countries and Caribbean members including Barbados, have also accused the US government of engaging in buying out medical supplies while on route for the intended destination, by offering double and triple the price or seizing them by enforcing a clause under the USA Defence Production Act.
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