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Contact: NEMO


Thursday April 30, 2009 - By way of normal procedure, NEMAC convened a meeting with Cabinet to provide ministers of government with up-to-date information pertaining to how the country is preparing in the event that anyone in Saint Lucia, local or visitor, is identified with the North American Flu. Key stakeholders provided reports on exactly how their particular departments have been taking necessary measures to ensure the safety of everyone in the country.

Prime Minister Hon. Stephenson King, who chaired the meeting, said that government is willing and ready to provide all the assistance, within its capacity, to deal with the potential risk that faces the country. “At this juncture” prime minister King said, “we need to hit the ground running and put in place measures—at all levels of government—to allow the people of Saint Lucia the best possible security from the potential threat.

Senior Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Merlene Frederick re-emphasized that to date no cases of the North American Flu, which was previously referred to as swine flu, has been identified in Saint Lucia. “We are on alert and putting all the stops, along with partner agencies such as the Saint Lucia Air and Seaports Authority, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Saint Lucia Fire Service and others to ensure, that we can identify any case,” she said.

For his part, Chief Veterinary Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. George Joseph, explained that whilst eating pork that is properly cooked is safe, the Ministry of Agriculture has met with pig farmers to offer them advice on how best to continue to keep live stock farms—particularly poultry and swine—safe from the possible entry of the disease. Such measures include, the activation of bio-security systems on their farms by not allowing the entry of persons exhibiting flu-like symptoms on farms, disinfection of hands and footwear and change of clothing before entering and leaving all farms. As an additional precautionary safety measure, Dr. Joseph said, “a suspension is placed on the importation of live pigs, semen and fresh and frozen pork, from the United States. In the first instance. The suspension may be extended based on the manifestation of the disease in other countries that Saint Lucia trades with.”

The meeting agreed that everyone should be alert and should take every precaution to deal with any symptoms that may be signs of the flu.

Meantime, all key personnel are expected to gather at NEMO's headquarters in Bisee on Friday May 1, to continue to plan to deal with the potential threat of the North American Flu.

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