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Dominican PM Defends Late Closure Of Airport

Dominica Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, speaking at news conference. Photo credit: CMC.

Dominican PM Defends Late Closure Of Airport

ROSEAU, Dominica, March 26, 2020 (CMC) – Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has defended his administration’s decision to shut down the Douglas-Charles Airport, north of here, last night, as the number of persons, infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19), climbed to 11.

Prime Minister Skerrit said that the government had to take into consideration the number of students in the United States and other countries, before deciding upon the closure of the facility.

“We have students in the United Kingdom, Canada…the schools have closed, they were allowed to stay at the dorms, in some instances the school authorities have told all the students, including the Dominicans, that they can no longer live on campus, because they may need these facilities for quarantine,” he disclosed.

Skerrit said there was also the situation, where Dominicans were stranded in North America, with no access to housing, funds and no health insurance, should the need arises. He said many had no relatives or families in those countries.

“And what should the government do. Tell them we have COVID-19 and we don’t want them, because they may be carrying it? And I ask our citizens, what would you advise the Prime Minister, if it were your daughter in the United States and wanted to come back and she had nowhere to stay?” he queried.

Skerrit said that the airport has now been closed to all travellers, and the facility would only accommodate medical emergencies and receive medical personnel.

The Prime Minister said that his administration had also decided that public sector workers, with underlying medical problems, should “stay home and work from home …and we are taking a further decision to have public servants to work from home”, excluding essential service workers.

The government said it was also seeking the cooperation of the private sector in following suit, adding his administration would soon be announcing new orders, regulating the measures.

“We want to ensure, when there will be a shutdown, people can have access to services. Our position is, if you have no business outside, stay inside.”

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