Prime Minister Gonsalves says the measure was taken given the lack of infrastructure in SVG to deal with the Ebola virus.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has placed a “complete ban” on visitors from Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the two West African nations that have been severely affected by the Ebola virus, which has claimed 4,500 lives.

“… we didn’t consider that we had the infrastructure, necessarily, to deal with an onrush of people if they were to come from any of those West African countries which we have named specifically,” Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told a press conference on Tuesday.

The government announced on Sept. 1 that visitors from the two countries and Nigeria would have to produce a health certificate proving that they do no have the virus, to be allowed entry in SVG.

Gonsalves, however, said that while there have been a few cases of the virus in Nigeria, international health agencies have since declared that country Ebola free.

There are Nigerians students enrolled at two of the medical schools in SVG, and four of these students were held in “isolation” after they arrived in the country over a three-week period without proof that they were not infected with Ebola.

Gonsalves said his government has made arrangement with the medical schools so that Nigerian students coming to SVG must have a medical certificate issued, at the most, seven days before entering SVG.

He further said that a health station has been set up at E.T. Joshua airport, where there is an “appropriate questionnaire and the surveillance for the persons”.

He noted that while no cases of the virus have been diagnosed in the United Kingdom, London says it is highly likely that they will have cases of the disease before the end of the year.

At least three cases of Ebola have been diagnosed in the United States, where one person has died of the virus.

“We want to take all of the requisite precautions, and more than that, we want to have the level of training and the level of support systems, regionally, and in this case too, with ALBA,” said Gonsalves, who also announced that SVG will attend the Caracas-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas’ (ALBA) summit on Ebola in Cuba next Monday.

Related: SVG to participate in ALBA’s Ebola summit in Cuba

Gonsalves further said that his government has been in contact with regional carrier, LIAT, the main airline servicing the country.

“We made it plain with LIAT that if they don’t — for instance, out of St. Martin where sometimes they can be very lackadaisical, if you put somebody on a plane who doesn’t have the PCR test for Ebola, … that person will not be allowed to land, and that will be the business of LIAT to deal with that. So we have dealt very firmly with that,” Gonsalves told reporters.

Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security, said he discussed with Permanent Secretary in that Ministry, Godfred Pompey, the security elements of the management of Ebola.

“I want us always to be very vigilant, to be very focused on this matter and at the same time, we must not be hysterical. We have to be calm because the worst thing you have in the relevant West African countries or anywhere is to have hysteria,” Gonsalves said.

“Though we accept that the risk in our part of the world is very low, we are a responsible government, we have to try to do everything we can to protect our citizens and what is important in relation to us in the training. We must train not only the health workers in the public sector; we have to do so also in the private sector. So, it’s a comprehensive thing which we have to do,” he told the press conference.

6 replies on “SVG places ‘complete ban’ on visitors from Ebola-affected countries in Africa”

  1. So what happened to persons from Liberia, some need to read the news now and again. Today’s CNN front page states that “Liberia, the nation hardest hit by Ebola, declares a shortage of supplies, ” umm well shouldn’t they be at the top of the list of countries banned from travelling?
    “Appropriate questionnaire”‘s are useless, the Immigration staff need to be looking in the passports to see if persons have been in the Ebola area’s as not all persons may tell the truth. Look at the fellow from Liberia who died in the USA, he wrote incorrect info on their form.
    Ban PPL FROM LIBERIA NOW!!

  2. A hopeless admission that we don’t have the expertise, equipment, personnel, resources, or motivation to deal with any type of epidemic or other threat to the well being of our people.

    From the very same man we are repeately told that we have all of these when it comes to building a world-class international airport at Argyle, part of whose function would be to deal with the arrival, quarantine, and treatment of disease-infected persons. Does anyone see a contradiction here?

    What really has been accomplished on the health front since Independence? Nothing of consequence.

    What really has been accomplished on the health front since the ULP came to power? The Prime Minister and his family have repeatedly sought medical treratment overseas.

    The reaction to the Ebola crisis? Shut the door, pray to God, and hope for the best.

    What a country!

  3. So what happens if a person who is infected travels on say a liat flight into the country, what happens to the passengers him/her has been in contact with ? the very plane him/her has traveled on, what happens with that plane? does that plane continue flying? So we put people who hasn’t brought forward necessary documents showing they passed an ebola test in quarantine and keep them under observation? the vehicle or ambulance being used to take them to quarantine what happens to that should it turn out they are infected??? how many other people could have traveled with that vehicle before symptoms starts showing? I see so much that can go wrong here. Things can get very quickly and completely out of hand and all it takes is one infected person really. There really should be much MUCH more stringent measures put in place RIGHT NOW! This thing is being taken much too lightly at present. Ban people from Liberia also from coming in is a good start.

  4. Sounds like a reaction because of ignorance to the actual cause. What happen to those exposed that are coming from the USA that are not black in colour? What about those that have it that sat on the same seat on the plane that many of you reading this have sat on? What about those that touched the same door knob as the Pilot flying the plane your relative, friend or otherwise just arrived on? How are we going to handle these?

    To place attention on those arriving from a specific origin while others exposed from other origins are entering does not prevent the condition from reaching our shores. If and when it arrives be ready to rise above the limitations by applying the consciousness of all that is to be free from condition.

    Sounds like everybody want to go to heaven and are afraid to die. Check yourselves folks. If you don’t seek the Kingdom of GOD first the flesh will be weak.

  5. Has anyone considered if a Vincentian is returning home having visited Liberia. Will they be banned from their own country. Will they be refused treatment.

    Liat may well end up with an aeroplane flying around the Caribbean being refused to land anywhere, because if they are sent away from here, no other country will allow them to land.

    I wrote weeks ago that the priority was to build an isolation hospital now. Fully equiped with all the protective clothing and equipment.

    Build it on the Argyle airport land, so as it serves us into the future. Build an incinerator so as bodies can be disposed of without burial or the risk of further contamination during transportation.

    If it means stopping work on the airport and giving the building a priority, then so be it. The Cubans should be able to advise us on how to go about it. They have been working in West Africa for years, and still are.

    In fact we should ban Cubans from SVG because of their frequent travel into West Africa, they may well be our greatest risk of contamination.

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