An American Airlines aircraft at Argyle International Airport. (Photo: Discover St. Vincent and The Grenadines/Facebook)

Two of the 154 persons who arrived in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Saturday on board an American Airlines flight from Miami have tested positive for COVID-19.

The new cases imported on the first flight on resumption of international travel after the hiatus imposed by the novel coronavirus, bring to 31 the number of confirmed cases of the viral illness in SVG.

There had not been any known active COVID-19 cases in SVG since June 25, when the last of the country’s 29 COVID-19 patients recovered from the viral illness.

Prime Minster Ralph Gonsalves announced the two new cases on WE FM, on Sunday, days after he said that if the numbers in Jamaica hold true for SVG, 2% of all arriving passengers would test positive for the viral illness.

Gonsalves said that the positive results came from tests conducted at the government’s lab in Kingstown, and confirmed by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency on Sunday.

But even as two passengers had tested positive for the illness, Gonsalves said he received reports that some persons who arrived on the flight had broken their quarantine.

All persons arriving in SVG have to undergo 24 hours quarantine while awaiting the result of their PCR test, if they had not had a test showing a negative result conducted within three days of arriving in the country. 

“I think the Ministry of Health probably has put out the information. There are two persons who have tested positive and those persons have been contacted and they are very responsible persons who are quarantined in their house,” Gonsalves said.

“There is nothing wrong with them. I mean they are not sick and the Ministry of Health is doing all what they are doing in checking all who were sitting next to them and so on and so forth. They have all that information and they are very good at doing this tracing, because, as you know, we have to manage the risk carefully and properly.”

Two passengers tested positive for COVID-19, bring to 31 the number of cases confirmed in SVG.

The prime minister, however, said that his first call is to ask the persons who were either given oral instruction from the Ministry of Health or an order from the court “that they must stay inside, they must do their quarantine.

“I heard, for instance, that a couple of people went to Mangoz [Restaurant and Bar] last night, a couple of people went to church this morning,” the prime minister said.

“These are persons who came out of the US who were under the specific quarantine because they were told some would be there for at least 24 hours for the results and others, because of a high risk group, would be there for 14 days,” Gonsalves said.

He said that the Ministry of Health has “its own metric, its own measurement, everything” to determine the quarantine period.

“I am just asking everyone who is coming in, listen to the Ministry of Health.”

Parliament, in response to the pandemic, this year passed an amendment to the Public Health Act, which could see persons fined up to EC$2,000 for each day that they breach their quarantine.

Gonsalves, however, said that health authorities do not want to take Saturday’s offenders to court. “You have to abide by the quarantine, please. If the police come for you this morning and take you up — a Sunday morning — to take you down to the barracks to hold you there until tomorrow to take you to the court, how would you feel?”

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo)

He said that SVG is a small country that has been using “moral suasion” in getting its people to comply with health authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Follow the instructions. Even if they don’t read the document that is given to them, they know. Some of them in the United States know. In fact, they hear it, they would listen to Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio but they don’t want to listen to the authorities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. What happen, man?”

He said most persons are following the regulations but “you have a few persons who are creating a problem.

“If you do that, you are going to put the country in a position where they are going to have to take even more stringent measures.”

Gonsalves said he had been told that some persons who had broken the quarantine were being taken on on Facebook.

“But that’s not what I want to see. … If you have to stay 24 hours, what is so difficult?”

He said that at the airport, the authorities were able to process the 154 passengers in the one and a half hours.

“We took the samples, we tested them here, in addition to testing them here, because of our early testing arrangements, we say we would have them verified by CARPHA. We arranged for the RSS plane; came for them early. CARPHA verified them.

“So the state has acted properly. The only area in which is left for the state to act, is for the authorities to send the police for those persons and take them up and let them spend the time in the police station today until tomorrow they got to go to court. But one doesn’t want to do that. We want to build a culture of compliance and reasonableness,” Gonsalves said.

“So I am making that appeal. We are not making joke on this, man,” he further stated, adding that the population in SVG is like a block in Brooklyn.

“We have a particular approach which we are following. Cooperate with us. That’s what I am asking.”

12 replies on “SVG’s AA passengers break quarantine even as 2 COVID-19 positive”

  1. They should be locked up make an example oit of them. It is irresponsible they do not care for their own safety and the safety of the public.
    We do not know how many other persons they would have come in contact with and if they are asymptomatic they have disregard the protocol put in place by the Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment that was passed in Parliament.
    TAKE THEM TO COURT MAKE.AN EXAMPLE OUT OF THEM WE VINVENTIANS ARE THE MOST LAWLESS AND RECKLESS SET OF PEOPLE IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE.

    1. Susan Williams says:

      Exactly so, many Vincies act like they have no morals, so no amount of “suasion” is going to help. Most people have the motto “do whatever you like and let everyone else suffer”. These ones need to be taken up, charged and paraded in front of the cameras in case anyone else came in contact with them for a start. The more other people see you doing nothing but talk empty air only encourages the ones from the next flights to do the same.

    2. Calvin bulze says:

      I BLAME THE GROVEMENT FOR WHAT IS HAPPING IN ST VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES ‘ FRIST OF ALL WR HAVE A PANDEMIC THAT IS KILLING SOMANY PEOPLD AROUND THE WORLD ‘ AND I BELIVE THAT THE SHOULD HAVE A PLAN BEFORE THEY ALLOW PEOPLE BACK INTO THE COUNTRY’ PASSENGERS SHOULD HAVE A TEST 4 DAYS BEFORE DEPARTURE AND ON ARRIVAL EVERY SHOULD BE TESTED’IF ANY TEST CAME UP POSITIVE THEY SHOULD NOT BE SEND HOME’ THAT THE MISTAKE THE GOVERNMENT MAKE

  2. Yusiff Banditt says:

    If they are breaking the rules just huff em,cuff em charge em and stuff em in a quarantine facility.

  3. Urlan Alexander says:

    Man stop.crying you are the best at what you do. Covid is afraid of svg. Planes landing,virus spreading…we jamming still.

  4. Dr. Dexter Lewis says:

    Once one single person from that plane tested positive, all bets are off. Anyone from that flight could be contaminated. Many more people on that flight are likely contaminated. This disease works in an exponential fashion, meaning that it spreads by multiplication, not addition.
    So why was the Government in such a hurry to open up, even after seeing what was happening in Texas, Florida and Arizona? Why the hurry? Danger comes before dollars. Keep your focus on the danger and stop being in such hurry for money.
    Let’s hope the Government can once again get its hands firmly around this problem and does not bring in another flight, especially from the US from whence flights are banned to all parts of the world, except SVG.

  5. Kittana Albert says:

    Close the damn borders or when the people comes in do not send them to their homes. Knowing u believe u can trust them when u can’t what if there are other people living at the home especially the elderly or sick one they will be at a great risk and danger

    What about the ones who has to prepare meals and take it to them if they haven’t got gloves or masks to wear all these things are to take into consideration. There are not everyone than can afford these things it is time a real reality check is taken and use wisdom either every body stay put or put them somewhere till the all clear can’t be putting others at risk it starts with the head of this country I know he can only do so much but this should be a priority in order to save everyone Stay home stay safe is a wrong statement shouldn’t be used at all .

  6. Urlan Alexander says:

    At election times when you cannot make tough decisions because you’re fearful and that is a sign of weakness. The law is there to prosecute, fined or jail. Instead of letting the law takes it natural course you’re just talking glibbly. I recalled parliament went late that night to amend the existing legislation so as to accommodate a change for this exact occurrence. You know it was going to happen at some point in time and now it did you’re too weak to enforce the law. Shame on you. You better don’t make me catch that virus. You will be sued for endangering my life.

  7. If a Vincentian were to go to New York and break the law, no matter how impassioned the plea of the Prime Minister Gonsales, they would have to suffer the consequences.

    If the crime was murder, no matter how much “suasion” talk PM Gonsales laid down that person is going to get locked up

    How many deaths has Covid 19 caused you?

    What if the actions of these parties causes a single death in your Covid free jurisdiction?

    The real issue is that PM Gonsales is showing how vulnerable the SVG economy is with its one pony economy and how SVG has to beg your visitors to obey its LAWS!

    Who is the real boss?

  8. I can’t understand y We black people just don’t learn eh jus to stay in Quarantine for 24 hrs they cant do that jeez man dey shud hav lock dey A.. Up
    Anybody break Quarantine shud b lock up period

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