There is now no confirmed case of the deadly coronavirus, COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
Minister of Health, Senator Luke Browne said on Friday night that a repeat test for the patient who originally tested positive was negative.
On March 11, SVG confirmed its sole case of the virus when a Vincentian woman who had returned from a trip to the United Kingdom tested positive.
Browne said that the Ministry of Health has done 31 tests in all. Only the one on March 11 was positive.
All but one of the tests was done at the Caribbean Public Health Agency Lab in Trinidad and Tobago, and other test was performed at the Bes-Dos-Santos Public Health Laboratory in Barbados, the minister said.
Browne said that his ministry will be able to do test in SVG “in due course”.
“The target date for the commencement of this phase of testing is April 6, 2020,” he said, adding that the necessary equipment and supplies have already been ordered and should be in country by next Friday, subject to delivery arrangements holding up at a time of supply chain disruptions.
He said his ministry has identified a testing site away from the lab itself because of space requirements and we have also lined up training for laboratory personnel.
“The capital cost associated with the development of our testing capacity is roughly $300,000.”
He said that he recently saw an article that stated that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had authorised the first rapid point-of-care coronavirus test.
“This is a promising development with the potential to substantially alter the dynamics of the pandemic. You may agree with me that it would be a very different scenario if, for example, a traveler could get a rapid test before embarking on a journey,” Browne told listeners.
He further said that the work on the Isolation Centre is progressing well and is on track for completion by mid-April.
“The total project cost — property purchase, construction, equipment and supplies — is about $3.8 million. The NIS (National Insurance Services) is helping out with a donation of $750,000,” Browne said.