To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of reports that following the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano on the islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, only people who have been vaccinated against covid-19 are able to access evacuation to neighbouring islands; and if he will make a statement.
21 April 2021
We are monitoring the situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines closely and our thoughts are with those affected by the eruptions.
On 8 April Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves ordered an immediate evacuation of people living in the most at-risk areas on St Vincent island. We can confirm that it is a requirement for persons who are being evacuated to another country in the region to be vaccinated. However, late on 12 April Prime Minister Gonsalves announced that his Government will no longer use cruise ships to evacuate people from the Red Zone as the numbers wanting to leave are low and people would prefer to stay on St Vincent and the Grenadines.
COVID-19 vaccinations are not required to gain access to emergency shelters or humanitarian support in-country, although Prime Minister Gonsalves is urging people to get vaccinated. There has been no impact on the provision of support from neighbouring islands (or more broadly - including by the UK), although appropriate COVID-19 measures are being used, including by those who have deployed to the island.