BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - WITH the Federation’s 2022/2023 tourism winter season in full swing, concerns are mounting over the rising number of respiratory cases and COVID-19 numbers in the United States and its possible impact on St. Kitts and Nevis.
Health officials in the United States are said to be monitoring the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) that is affecting mostly children and older adults at this point.
The United States Center For Disease Control has issued a warning that the numbers would increase over the winter season.
Hospital beds in some states are said to be at capacity for pediatrics while cases of RSV are also increasing in older adults, according to media reports.
Concerns were also raised about a tripledemic - Flu, RSV and COVID-19 - peaking during this time of the year.
But Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew is assuring the general public that the Government and the health authorities would be closely monitoring all of the outbreaks in the United States and around the world to ensure that the people in the Federation remain safe.
“We are looking closely at the RSV and Monkeypox as well. So we have our surveillance with respect to those. So we are keeping ahead of the curb,” Dr. Drew told SKNVibes News.
The concerns for the Federation come as measures are relaxed and people have been accused of letting their guards down when it comes to the virus since all COVID-related measures were relaxed following the elections.
With increased flights and cruise vessels signalling a return to the precovid era, so too is the interpretation from tourists that it is good to travel without getting screened.
The Federation is one of those territories that was blessed to not have as many deaths from the virus during its peak due, in part, to there not being the presence of the more deadly strains of the virus.
But sources within the regional health agencies have confirmed that a number of the new strains of the virus is already present in the region and could raise their ugly heads again during the cold period of the year.
The Government, through the Ministry of Health, is expected to begin educating the general public on the RSV and other viruses as they get deeper into the winter season, noted PM Drew.
“They would surveil to see if any cases (Monkeypox, COVID and RSV) show up. That is the best we can do at this point,” the Prime Minister added.
Meanwhile, the Government could soon begin offering more booster shots for persons interested in getting updated with their COVID-19 inoculation.
SKNVibes was told that an offer was made to have more shipments of doses be provided to the Federation in the coming months.
“We would definitely want to have vaccines available for our people who want to have the vaccine and the booster. So, yes, we are working towards that. As a matter of fact, I got a call, I think it was from the High Commissioner to London, to say that there was a particular country that wanted to donate some more vaccines to us,” Drew disclosed.
The medical practitioner, who reassured that he is all for vaccines, noted that he would ensure there are vaccines available for all who want them, to ensure that the population remains healthy.