The Cuban healthcare workers who arrived in St. Vincent and the Grenadines Thursday night will not be quarantined, as has been done in Jamaica.
SVG has implemented 14-day quarantine for a number of countries where community spread of the deadly coronavirus – COVID-19 is reported.
Minister of Health, Senator Luke Browne said Friday night that it is not necessary to quarantine the Cuban medical brigade, consisting of four doctors and 12 nurses.
“It is not necessary for the Cubans to be in quarantine because they spent 14 days in quarantine in Cuba before embarking on the journey to SVG,” Browne said.
The minister said that the members of the brigade are specialists in the control and management of infectious diseases and will work at the Isolation Centre being built at Argyle.
“They would also assist with additional and ongoing training for local staff. The brigade is expecting to be here for three months in the first instance, subject to renewal,” he said.
Browne said that the following countries are currently on SVG’s COVID-19 quarantine list: China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, UK, USA, Canada and EU member countries (including Martinique and Guadeloupe which are overseas Departments of France).
“However, travellers from all countries are subject to screening,” he said.
Browne said that 40 additional nurses/interns are being hired to strengthen screening and surveillance at ports of entry.
The recorded speech was aired at 8 p.m. Friday, about 40 minutes after the Office of the Prime Minister announced that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves had ordered the closure of ports of entry in Union Island, Canouan and Bequia.
Browne said that many of these additional nurses and interns have already been trained and deployed.
“The screening may entail an interview, body temperature checks, examination for signs and symptoms and other measures. The public has raised legitimate concerns about the enforcement of self-quarantine. The Ministry would make a statement on an updated quarantine regime over the weekend,” he said.