TORONTO – Grenada’s prime minister says the country is working to rebuild its economy and boost tourism in an effort to continue pandemic support for its residents.
Prime Minister Keith Mitchell told Granthshala news channel on Sunday that he has COVID-19 stimulus packages especially for the poor and vulnerable, but worries whether the country will be able to provide that aid for longer.
He said the pandemic could continue “for a long time” and the country needed revenue to continue supporting its people.
“Basically we’re trying to do what we can to rebuild the country’s economy because it’s important,” Mitchell said. “So getting the economy back, investing back[to] country … and of course the support of the regional and international community.”
- Newsletter sign-up: Get the COVID-19 brief sent to your inbox
Michel, who is also president of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) authority, says Grenada has done well in handling the pandemic, noting that it is the southernmost island in the Caribbean Sea with a population of about 112,000.
September saw an increase in the number of cases in the country, but Mitchell says the rate of hospitalizations and deaths has decreased.
“Yes, we have a lot of problems like many countries around the world, but now we are seeing a serious reduction in spikes because of the united efforts of the people of the country,” Mitchell said.
According to Data tracked by the World Health Organization (WHO), Grenada has reported 5,531 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, in addition to 167 deaths. On Sunday, 47 new cases were reported in the country in the last 24 hours.
Following the country’s increase in cases in September, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Issued a travel advisory from Granada, advising Americans to avoid all travel there. For those who must travel to the island, the CDC recommends that they be fully vaccinated before leaving.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has no specific advice for Grenada, but is still ongoing. Canadians advised to avoid non-essential travel Take extra precautions if they have to travel in and out of the country.
While the country is open to tourists, Grenada has some strict travel policies to ensure that everyone is kept safe, according to Michele.
Effective July 31, all travelers entering Grenada are required to be fully vaccinated. In addition, they must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result 72 hours before the departure of their flight. After reaching Grenada, the passengers will have to undergo another PCR test and quarantine for 48 hours while awaiting their results.
Once that second test comes back negative, Mitchell says tourists are free to visit their friends and family, and visit the island “as they wish.”
Grenada is one of the world’s top producers of some of the most common spices, including nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and turmeric, all of which Mitchell says Canadian travelers like to get their hands on when they travel.
“We tell them we have plenty of supplies, so please come,” he said.
Mitchell said the increase in COVID-19 infections in September actually encouraged more locals to get vaccinated and expected the trend to continue even as case numbers drop.
Grenada has given a total of 58,985 COVID-19 vaccine doses as of 1 October. according to who, and the number of Grenadians who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 currently stands between 31 and 32 percent. But Mitchell says that’s still “very little.”
“We hope it’s not just a temporary thing that people will take this as very serious evidence that they should protect themselves, they should vaccinate, they should follow protocol at all times – where your masks, social distancing and Clean and wash your hands regularly,” Michele said.
They say that misinformation spread through social media about the vaccine has hindered Grenada’s vaccination campaign.
“Misinformation is huge,” he said. “Like Canada, there’s a lot of misinformation coming out of the quarters that you wouldn’t expect.”
Despite this, Mitchell says Grenadians living abroad have actually returned home to help with the country’s vaccine rollout. In addition, he said people living in other countries, including Canada, continue to send supplies to aid Grenada’s fight against COVID-19.
“We have seen a collective effort by the people of the country,” he said.