The Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, on Monday, granted an application for an individual in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to be placed in mandatory quarantine in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, one case of which has been confirmed locally.
The court made the decision during an in-camera hearing.
Police officers had ordered that the court be cleared, in the absence of an order by Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett or any application by the prosecutor, Police Constable Corlene Samuel.
Burnett had risen and indicated that he was taking a five-minute break and after he left the courtroom, court orderlies ordered that the courtroom be cleared.
They claimed that a Family Court matter was about to the heard and maintained that that was the case, even as members of the media voiced their belief that the court was going to hear an application for mandatory quarantine.
iWitness News was reliably informed that counsel Duane Daniel and Karen Duncan appeared on behalf of the applicant, Health Officer Dr. Roger Duncan.
The two lawyers and the physician remained in court after the order that the courtroom be cleared.
In March, the Serious Offences Court granted an order pursuant to the Public Health Act, 1977 for the isolation of persons exposed to infections, that 15 persons, all of whom hade what appear to be Chinese names, be quarantined for 14 days in relation to the coronavirus.
A senior health official had initially denied to iWitness News that that was the case until we quoted extensively from a copy of the court order that we had obtained.
iWitness News reported on the court order but did not disclose any of the personal detailed of the persons affected by it.
The Ministry of Health has since said that all of those persons have completed their quarantine and none of them had COVID-19
Last week, the Ministry of Health placed under 15-day mandatory quarantine, some 39 Girls’ High School students and five chaperones after their return from Guadeloupe.
The ministry also advised students and their chaperones’ households to voluntarily observe 14 days’ quarantine.
Speaking, generally, about quarantine on WE FM on Sunday, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Simone Keizer Beache, said that health officials would visit persons who have been placed in mandatory quarantine.
“When we determine that the person is probably less than compliant, we will do the court orders and we would ask for the assistance of the police,” she said.
Keizer-Beache further said that the government is asking persons arriving from the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union to voluntarily undergo 14 days’ quarantine.
“So we will be doing random checks and we will be also doing phone checks on those persons. And then we also, you know, our brother’s keeper, our brother’s look out.
“We are asking this because we are looking at a completely different number because when we were dealing with just China, Iran and those other countries, the numbers we were dealing with was much lower than what we are going to have to deal with now in terms of the US, UK and EU. If necessary, we will get court orders however.”