by Hon. Nickolas Steele, Minister for Health, Social Security and International Business
Today, I am a grateful, humbled, and pleased Minister of Health. But, even more so, I am a proud Grenadian. For today, we have achieved a significant milestone, in that, 3 of our remaining active Covid-19 cases are now medically cleared, which means that Grenada is now down to 1 active case of Covid-19.
We must give credit to our dedicated health professionals, who have gone above and beyond duty and service to get us to this point, and significantly so, without any casualties.
But, sisters and brothers, this battle isn’t yet won, and we cannot become complacent. We cannot drop our guard. We have seen from world examples, how unpredictable this disease is, and how, just when it’s believed to be under control, it can resurface, and again pose significant challenges for our health system.
Here in Grenada, we must, by no means, believe that the worst is over. We must prepare for a second wave, especially as we gradually open up our borders to safeguard our economy. We must expect to see further cases here on Island, and we must prepare for such an eventuality.
For this reason, we have actively been building capacity within our health system in the last few months. While we will never be fully ready to meet the demands of an outbreak, in fact, no country will be, we are much better positioned in terms of our processes, to be able to successfully fight this disease.
We continue to procure more equipment, such as tests and Personal Protective Equipment. We continue to strengthen our contact tracing efforts by building capacity and ensuring rigorous training of our team members. We continue to improve on our monitoring and quarantine procedures. Every day, during the last four or so months, our dedicated men and women on various committees have met to explore ways of ensuring that we meet the current challenges head-on and that in the process, we strike a balance with economic outlook, as well. We are cognisant that they go hand in hand. We know that both are necessary to save lives.
As we open further domestically, during this month, we will continue to test our system and ensure that it is fit for purpose for when we open borders. But we cannot do it alone. This period has been about partnership. Our Grenadian people and sectors have come together and have successfully battled an unprecedented health crisis, so far, and we count on that same partnership to maintain or improve our containment strategies going forward.
Government is doing its part, as outlined above. Our frontline workers in health and law enforcement are doing their part, and commendably so. The private sector, through all its challenges, must continue to do its part because of its critical role in the economic life and livelihood of this nation. A significant proportion of our population is also doing its part, and we are grateful to all those who have been with us in this battle.
We urge those of you who are not yet compliant in following the guidelines to please do so, now more than ever, so that we can eventually live and thrive in this new normal. Wear your masks when out in public; wash your hands frequently with soap and water; and above all, practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet. We know that as a social people, physical distancing is difficult, but it is necessary in preventing the contraction of the disease, and in saving lives. We know that wearing masks in public is unnatural and uncomfortable, but that is crucial in limiting the spread of the disease and saving lives.
Today, we proudly join the ranks of nations that have beat the first wave of this Covid-19 threat. There will be a second. Today we proudly join the ranks of the nations that can open up, but not let our guard down, that can contemplate reconnection, and yes, this is being done later than others, but this is because we know we have more to lose by rushing into this.
Our tremendous economic gains since 2013, allow us to put the health and safety of the nation first, and protect our most valuable assets as a nation, YOU the people. We are only able to do so because of our actions. It is our collective actions that have gotten us this far, and it is these same cautious collective actions that will take us into the future.
As a people, let us recognise these sacrifices and collective actions by displaying our patriotism and compliance by wearing the mask. Let us wear the mask and tell the world that we are a nation that will not be beaten. We will not be broken. We will persevere. If we value our own lives and the lives of those around us, the gains and sacrifices we have made, then we will wear the mask and wear it proudly.
Let us all go forward onwards and upwards as a nation, as we are all in this together, and may God continue to look after us all and bless us all.
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