Number of active COVID-19 cases in SVG increases to 21
This country has recorded 21 new COVID-19 cases, less than 10 days after the first international flight arrived here from Miami, Florida amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Prior to the arrival of American Airlines flight, 945 on July 11, St Vincent and the Grenadines had recorded 29 positive COVID-19 cases, all of whom had recovered.
Initially, only two positive COVID-19 cases were announced after the flight’s arrival, but on July 12, a release from the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) said that a total of six new COVID-19 cases had been recorded.
Passengers considered to be of high risk or in close contact with the positive cases were placed under quarantine.
On July 17, an additional three cases were recorded, two of whom are returning Vincentians who arrived on the July 11 flight and initially tested negative for COVID-19.
The third case, according to NEMO’s release is a contact of one of the original positive cases who arrived on July 11.
“The new positive cases are in quarantine, having been identified as high-risk travellers on arrival, or a contact of a known positive case. They will be in isolation until they are cleared by two negative PCR tests. All of the contacts of these new positive cases have been informed and will be quarantined until cleared by a negative PCR,” the release said. “The other AA 945 passengers who were in close contact on board the flight with known positive cases, or were otherwise identified as high risk, received a second PCR test on day 5 or 6. All of these second PCR tests are negative.”
NEMO said in a release on Sunday, July 19 that there were six new confirmed COVID-19 cases, three of which were persons associated with the AA flight of July 11.
The release added that two of the other persons had been “detected during exit screening” and that these cases were under investigation. The sixth case is a passenger who arrived on another airline from the British Virgin Islands.
Another release from the NEMO late Sunday evening revealed an additional six cases, taking the recorded number of active cases to 21.
Of these six latest cases, four are from the AA945 flight that arrived on Saturday, July 18 from Miami.
The fifth case “… is a Vincentian returning home from Antigua and one was found on exit screening for a Vincentian who visited briefly from Barbados. The process of informing and contact tracing has commenced,” NEMO’s release said.
Another AA flight from Miami is expected to arrive in SVG this Saturday, May 25.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said on Sunday that the protocols have been strengthened for that flight and that all the passengers are now required to arrive with a negative COVID PCR test result.
“…They must arrive with the proof of reservation in an approved hotel by the Ministry of Health for five nights.
Thirdly, you will be quarantined in that approved Ministry of Health Hotel for five days, five nights. Four; you will be tested for COVID-19 before you’re released from the quarantine approved hotel and fifth; the quarantine will continue in an approved home if its okay or a government facility for a period of nine to 16 days; that is to say it will be between 14 to 21 days,” the prime minister said.
Gonsalves said the majority of people on the two AA flights to St Vincent are Vincentian nationals returning home for one reason or another.
He added that if persons refuse to adhere to quarantine, “you may push the Government to suspend the flights from the United States of America until things improve there”.
The prime minister said that flights will continue from Canada.
To date, SVG has recorded a total of 50 COVID-19 cases, 29 of which have recovered. No deaths have been recorded.