St. Vincent and the Grenadines, on Friday, recorded three new COVID-19 cases, two of which are Vincentians who returned to the country on AA flight 945 last week Saturday, July 11, and initially tested negative for the viral illness.
The other positive case is a contact of one of the original positive cases who arrived on the same flight, the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) announced late Friday night.
The new cases bring to nine the number of COVID-19 linked to the flight, which brought 155 passengers to the country.
The latest development has resulted in health officials stipulating five days mandatory quarantine for all arriving passengers.
Previously, passengers arriving with a negative PCR test for the viral illness conducted within three days of their arrival in SVG did not have to undergo any quarantine if they also tested negative on an SVG PCR test.
All passengers testing negative on arrival had to undergo 24 hours’ mandatory quarantine while awaiting the result of their PCR test.
The three cases recorded on Friday were confirmed by tests conducted by the Molecular Laboratory Unit in Kingstown.
“The new positive cases are in quarantine, having been identified as high-risk travellers on arrival, or a contact of a known positive case. They will be in isolation until they are cleared by two negative PCR tests. All of the contacts of these new positive cases have been informed and will be quarantined until cleared by a negative PCR,” NEMO said.
The other AA 945 passengers who were in close contact on board the flight with known positive cases, or were otherwise identified as high risk received a second PCR test on day 5 or 6. All of these second PCR tests are negative.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines now has nine active COVID-19 cases, all imported or import-related. So far, 38 COVID-19 cases have been recorded with 29 recoveries and zero deaths.
In view of the significant number of new COVID-19 cases related to AA 945 last week Saturday and the worsening situation relative to COVID-19 in the United States, especially Miami, Florida, the origin of the AA 945, the Health Services Subcommittee of the National Emergency Committee has amended the arrival protocol with immediate effect, NEMO said.
As of today, Saturday, July 18, all passengers arriving on AA 945 from Miami International Airport will be subject to five days mandatory quarantine.
“Passengers who arrive without a PCR result will have a PCR test done at the AIA. A second PCR test may be done between day 5 and day 7 to determine further continuation of quarantine. Port Health Officers will make the final determination,” NEMO said.
NEMO further stated:
“The public is reminded that persons are placed in quarantine for stipulated periods based on their ongoing possibility of being COVID-19 positive, even after a previous negative COVID-19 result.
“The Health Services Sub-Committee of the National Emergency Committee urges all Vincentians to be aware of their health and to report any feelings of being unwell to health care providers.
“Everyone must remain vigilant, comply with quarantine and isolation orders and all of the recommendations issued, relative to COVID-19. “Adherence to the recommendations for the conduct of mass gatherings, especially the smart use of masks, keeping a registry of persons attending events and hand hygiene, are extremely important as more persons from countries with active COVID-19 community spread arrive in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”