Mustique donates Covid-19 test kits to Ministry of Health
In-country testing for COVID-19 using the recently received PCR machine is said to begin any day now, and testing capacity has also been bolstered by the donation of 8000 rapid tests from the Mustique Charitable Trust.
Minister of Health, Luke Browne announced the arrival of a PCR machine on May 15, noting that the shipment of the item was delayed in the United States of America, for reasons beyond their control. Browne had announced in March that the Ministry of Health had placed an order for the machine, which is funded from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB).
While the Minister had indicated that testing would be possible as early as the middle of this week, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, speaking on NBC radio on Wednesday revealed that he was informed by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Simone Keizer-Beache, that elementary training was ongoing and that “she expects some time before the end of this week that we can do in house.”
“When I’m told the end of this week, I say well… in my head I say next week. So that shortly we will have the in house testing,” he concluded.
“But if we have any difficulties we will still have CARPHA, and with the RSS plane working and taking our samples, but we will have inside capacity,” the Prime Minister revealed.
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) laboratory in Trinidad and Tobago has been conducting PCR testing for SVG since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the ECCB funded PCR machine, two PCR machines valued at US$30,000 each have been donated by the people and Government of Taiwan, and were received in a ceremony which took place on May 15 at the Embassy of St Vincent and the Grenadines in the Republic of China (Taiwan). The donation of the machines is part of a larger donation inclusive of surgical masks, N95 masks, protective overalls, isolation gowns, infra-red thermometers, auto temperature measurement stations and hydroquine tablets. Two more PCR machines are expected from the International Atomic Energy Agency in Taiwan.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister disclosed, that on Tuesday, May 19, the Government received 8000 rapid testing kits. The SVG Health Facebook page said that these rapid test kits were donated by the Mustique Charitable Trust and are valued at $133,000.
The first donation of rapid test kits, which totalled 3000, was given to SVG by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and they arrived in the country on April 10.