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Pharmaceutical Stocks Being Assessed

Health officials here are to discuss with OECS counterparts the availability of medicines in the face of growing concerns and efforts to curtail the impact of COVID-19.

An emergency meeting of the Cabinet of the Government of Montserrat was held on Sunday afternoon to discuss the current situation and to receive updates from the Chief Medical Officer Dr Sharra Greenaway-Duberry.

On Saturday, Cabinet agreed to impose a 50-person limit on any gatherings and has closed schools until April 6. This decision, severely affected the ongoing St. Patrick’s Festival with travel peaking the day before, with three ferries arriving on Friday and numerous flights from Winair and the local airlines.

Current estimates are that about 2100 people traveled to Montserrat in the past two weeks to participate in the festival. Health officials on Antigua stepped up their screenings of passengers arriving from Montserrat on the ferry on Sunday morning.

There is growing concern from the public, Government Opposition, and organised bodies including the Bar Association, about the government’s handling of the virus which has been called a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

Health officials reiterate that while they are awaiting results from one patient suspected of having COVID-19, there are no positive cases reported on island. Visitors who arrived on a March 10 British Airways flight have been asked to self-isolate after Antigua confirmed late last week that a patient who was on the same flight had contracted the virus.

Ministry officials said that to date, they have made contact with 60% of the people who were on the flight last Tuesday and are still appealing to others to get in touch urgently so they can be assessed.

Montserrat is part of the OECS Pharmaceutical Procurement Service, which procures medicines and allied health equipment on behalf of Member States. Not only could the island need more medicines related to managing the symptoms associated with the virus, any extended stay by visitors unable to leave and who may have brought only a limited supply of their medicines would put additional pressure on the local pharmacies.

All residents are encouraged to continue to exercise proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette as well as to take general measures against becoming ill. This includes adequate rest and hydration and the avoidance of sick people.