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Prime Minister: The timing “must be right”

As stakeholders continue to examine Grenada’s readiness for opening its borders, COVID-19 cases continue to rise worldwide and the spread has some leaders stepping back on plans to reopen economies.

In his address to the nation on Sunday (June 28), Prime Minister Dr the Hon Keith Mitchell said “for the immediate future, Grenada will only continue to welcome chartered flights as these offer greater levels of due diligence, with respect to the established protocols which include testing before departure, testing upon arrival and agreement to bear the cost of quarantine. Commercial airlines have thus far not agreed to make it mandatory for passengers to test prior to travel and this is contrary to Grenada’s protocols.”

While the Prime Minister acknowledged “many are wishing we can remain in the protective bubble” and “maintain the COVID-free status,” he said this in not a practical, long-term option.

“Caribbean countries may not have reached consensus on when to re-open our borders, but given the importance of tourism, this is generally regarded as one of the critical milestones in the effort to restart economies. The timing, however, must be right, and public health remains of paramount importance.”

In the United States, one of Grenada’s largest tourism markets and home to thousands of Grenadians, the daily recorded cases in that country surpassed 50,000 on Thursday (July 2). As the epicentre of the country’s COVID-19 epidemic moves from the northeast to California, Arizona and New Mexico in the West, along with Texas, Florida and Georgia, governors of states hit hardest by the resurgent coronavirus halted or reversed steps to reopen their economies, according to the CBC.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the United Kingdom government will end the coronavirus quarantine rules for visitors arriving from 75 countries. The newspaper said the UK would shortly lift a ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU destinations, including Bermuda and Gibraltar, and Turkey, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

Speaking at a press briefing on July 1, World Health Organisation Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that “for the past week, the number of new cases has exceeded 160,000 on every single day,” with 60% of all cases so far have been reported just in the past month.

“We will never get tired of saying that the best way out of this pandemic is to take a comprehensive approach.”

He urged all countries to “find, isolate, test and care for every case, trace and quarantine every contact, equip and train health workers and educate and empower communities to protect themselves and others. Not testing alone. Not physical distancing alone. Not contact tracing alone. Not masks alone. Do it all.”

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports confirmed cases have exceeded 404,000 on the 54-nation continent, while testing capabilities remain low because of shortages of materials.

South Korea has confirmed 54 more cases as the coronavirus continues to spread beyond the capital region. As of July 2, South Korea had a total of 12,904, including 282 deaths.

Japan faces a second wave as new coronavirus cases in Tokyo increased to a two-month high, while India’s cases 600,000, with 17,834 deaths as of Thursday.

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