The number of confirmed active cases of COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), as of Sunday afternoon, stood at 15, including two cases, the origin of which medical professionals were trying to trace.
The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) further said there was an additional four “preliminarily confirmed active cases”, which have been sent to Trinidad for verification.
NEMO said that three of the new cases are associated with American Airlines flight 945, which arrived in the country on July 11 — the first international flight since the air bridge was closed in March.
So far, there are 12 cases associated with the AA flight, including one person who was not a passenger on the aircraft that brought 155 persons to the country.
NEMO said that further results from second round testing related to that flight are outstanding.
“In light of the uncontrolled nature of the COVID-19 epidemic in the USA and, in particular, Florida and the significant potential impact on the health system of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Health Services Subcommittee of the National Emergency Committee has recommended that the AA 945 flight from Miami be monitored closely with a view to discontinuation,” NEMO said.
The organisation said that initial testing of COVID-19 PCR samples collected this past Saturday, July 18, for AA 945 flight from Miami, has “preliminarily revealed four positive cases”.
“All samples have been sent to CARPHA for analysis as part of the multi-tiered verification system in place,” NEMO said.
The results of COVID-19 tests conducted in SVG are sent to the regional lab in Port-of-Spain for verification as Kingstown is still in the early days of testing.
NEMO said that the persons who arrived on Saturday’s flight were placed on mandatory quarantine and must adhere to this order.
“The public is reminded of the high risk of contracting Covid-19 from persons who may appear to be well and have arrived with a negative COVID-19 test, but may still be carrying the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19. Further updates will be provided upon receipt of the outstanding results,” NEMO said.
It further said that two new COVID-19 cases, not associated with the AA flights have also been detected during “exit screening”, NEMO said, without explanation.
“These cases are under investigation,” NEMO said.
The press statement further reported that one new COVID-19 case arrived on another airline from the British Virgin Islands.
NEMO offers no information on the flight, including the airline or arrival date.
It, however, stated that all active cases are in isolation.
“Contact tracing and subsequent mandatory quarantine have commenced for these new cases.
SVG has recorded 44 “finally confirmed” COVID-19 cases with 29 recoveries and zero deaths.
NEMO said that going forward, all passengers arriving on the AA 945 flight from Miami and those transiting to SVG, having travelled on any commercial flight out of the United States:
1. Must arrive with a negative COVID-19 PCR test result
2. Must arrive with proof of a reservation in a TA/MOHWE approved hotel for five (5) nights.
3. Will be quarantined in a TA/MOHWE approved hotel for five days.
4. Will be tested for COVID-19 before release from the quarantine approved hotel.
5. Will continue quarantine in an approved home/facility for a period of nine to 16 days for a total of 14 to 21 days.
“The importance of strict compliance to all quarantine and isolation orders is paramount. It is only by complying with these orders along with the use of masks in public spaces that the spread of COVID-19 can be controlled in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” NEMO said.