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St Vincent’s virus spike is an issue too

Regional 22 Apr, 2021 Follow News

Vincentians have to cope with virus fears as well as ash

St Vincent officials are extremely worried about the island’s increasing COVID-19 cases. It comes because of a lack of clean water as thousands of evacuees fleeing the La Soufrière volcano eruption crowd into shelters and private homes.

Over a dozen cases have been reported in recent days. At least five evacuees staying in two homes and a shelter tested positive, exposing at least 20 people to the virus, St Vincent’s chief medical officer, Dr Simone Keizer-Beache, said.

She said officials were preparing to do mass testing to support contact tracing, a complicated undertaking given that between 16,000 and 20,000 people had been evacuated before La Soufrière’s explosive eruptions started a fortnight ago. She also urged people to wear masks and cooperate to curb the outbreak. Some people arriving at shelters had refused to undergo a voluntary test, she said.

“Let us work together to prevent a second catastrophe,” Dr Keizer-Beache told a press conference broadcast by the local station NBC Radio.

Heavy ashfall from La Soufrière has contaminated many communities’ water supplies, leaving people to congregate in long queues at standpipes.

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