LONDON, June 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) announced on Thursday that the Canadian government is contributing US$5.3 million to assist St Kitts and Nevis and another 22 countries of the Americas. PAHO will receive the funds and use them to primarily provide better access to supplies and personal protective equipment needed to limit human-to-human transmission.
The Federation of St Kitts and Nevis has not registered any COVID-19-related deaths and only 15 people tested positive. The government confirmed the last case on April 19th with all cases having recovered by May 18th.
“The COVID-19 virus knows no borders and cooperation with international partners such as PAHO has been key to fighting this global pandemic and minimizing its impact on health systems,” said Karina Gould, the Canadian Minister of International Development. “PAHO launched a Donor Appeal in March 2020 to support and scale-up COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts in the Region of the Americas, seeking US$94.8 million for six months,” cites a PAHO press release issued on June 11. The organisation succeeded in raising US$52.7 million so far, largely from its own sources and the World Health Organisation.
In February, Foreign Minister Mark Brantley met with Dr Yitades Gebre, PAHO/WHO representative to Barbados and Eastern Caribbean countries, where the two discussed the COVID-19 outbreak. Dr Gebre pledge close collaboration with the Ministry of Health “to ensure that their preparedness and responses are effective, appropriate, timely, and sustainable.” St Kitts and Nevis registered its first case on March 25, much later than most of the countries worldwide.
After strict lockdown measures, the twin island nation is cautiously returning to normal. Prime Minister Timothy Harris told BBC World News in April that the government is pledging a 120-million stimulus package. Although it is the smallest country in the western hemisphere, its fiscal management improved significantly over the past five years. Tourism is a key economic pillar, but Citizenship by Investment (CBI) accounts for 20% to 35% of the government’s revenue. St Kitts and Nevis has been running the world’s oldest CBI Programme, established in 1984. Foreign investors that pass all the due diligence checks can obtain citizenship by making a one-off contribution to a government fund. It remains the fastest and most secure route to second citizenship and supports socio-economic initiatives across the islands, including the healthcare sector.