|Ash and smoke billow as the La Soufriere volcano erupts in Kingstown, St. Vincent, April 9, 2021 © Reuters / Robertson S. Henry|
(RT) - As a volcanic eruption cast a pall of ash over the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, tens of thousands fled – but eyebrows were raised after the island nation’s PM said they weren’t going anywhere without a Covid shot.
The La Soufriere volcano on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent erupted on Friday, sending a column of ash 10km into the sky. With some 16,000 people living in the ‘red zone’ near the volcano, the authorities had been scrambling to put together evacuation plans in the hours leading up to the blast.
For viewers following the evacuation effort through television news reports, one detail of the plan may have stood out. “Cruise ships are evacuating people from the island,” CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell announced on Friday, adding that “only those vaccinated against Covid” would be allowed to leave.
INSANE: “Cruise ships are evacuating people from the island, but only those vaccinated against covid.”— Drew Hernandez (@DrewHLive) April 10, 2021
What in the hell pic.twitter.com/FuKq3IU1i7
Furthermore, Gonsalves said that the neighboring islands of St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados, and Antigua would accept evacuees, but only if they had been vaccinated.
To add to the horror on St Vincent, *only vaccinated* evacuees are being accepted on cruise ships or nearby islands. This is worse than my worst nightmares about vaccine segregation.— Silkie Carlo (@silkiecarlo) April 10, 2021
This has to redouble our determination to NEVER allow covid passes.pic.twitter.com/Q2Zx73bFkN
Further complicating matters is the fact that St. Vincent received its first shipment of vaccines only two days before the eruption. Throughout the pandemic, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has recorded only 1,789 cases of Covid-19 and 10 deaths, according to figures from the World Health Organization.