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Alvina King's relatives are trying to raise money as SVG's COVID-19 protocols have left her stranded in Miami.
Alvina King’s relatives are trying to raise money as SVG’s COVID-19 protocols have left her stranded in Miami.
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What was intended to be the vacation of a lifetime has left a Vincentian woman stranded in Miami and her family in Hawaii unsure of how she would be able to meet her expenses.

Alvina King, 59, was unable to board her flight from Miami to St. Vincent on Saturday because of new COVID-19 protocols announced by Kingstown one week earlier — after her flight had been booked.

Now, her family has turned to GoFundMe, a crowd funding website, to try to raise US$800 to pay for her accommodation and meals in Miami until she can get a flight home, or to fly her back to New York, where she can stay with relatives.

The woman’s son, Carlton King contacted iWitness News on Sunday, saying:

“My mother got stuck in Miami and couldn’t return home after taking the COVID-19 test 4 days before her trip and didn’t get the results yet. I feel so sorry for her and the other 100 plus citizens trying desperately to get home to their families.”

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King was unable to board her flight because the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has announced that passengers would not be allowed entry into the country if they do not have a negative COVID-19 test.

With this new stipulation, American Airlines, which flies between Miami and St. Vincent every Saturday, is denying boarding to passengers who do not have a negative COVID-19 result.

Previously, up to July 18, persons arriving in SVG from the United States could take a COVID-19 test up to three days prior to arrival in SVG and not undergo any quarantine on arrival in SVG, if also tested negative upon arrival in the country.

If they were negative, they would be released from quarantine.

However, SVG recorded nine COVID-19 cases linked to the American Airlines flight on July 11, which brought 155 passengers to the country.

The flight the following week recorded an additional four cases.

These cases, along with some others unrelated to the AA flights, saw SVG recording more COVID-19 cases in two weeks that it had done in four months, with the total now at 52.

The development resulted in health officials stipulating five days mandatory quarantine for all arriving passengers, at the person’s expense, at a government-approved hotel for all arriving passengers, regardless of the result of a PCR test for COVID-19.

And this is having a direct impact on King, as it has had left a hole in the pockets of many of the persons who were able to board the flight home on Saturday, as they had not planned for the additional expense.

King’s daughter-in-law, in the GoFundMe, said that she has been in the United States since February on her first international trip.

“She has never been on a plane ride longer than an hour. And at 59 years old, she decided to make that trip from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines all the way to Hawaii so that she can spend time with her 3-year-old granddaughter, and son,” Jocelyn Lorenzo said in the post.

She said that what was planned as a fun-filled event full of “amazing outdoor memories became a stay-at-home trip full of worries and paranoia. 

“During her entire stay, we did our best to make sure we did not spread the disease and did our best to make sure that none of us contracted the disease.   We did not join any gatherings and only left the house when absolutely necessary because she was afraid that because she doesn’t have insurance, getting sick would leave us with a hefty medical bill.”

Lorenzo said that her family was finally able to get King a flight home to SVG this month but noted the last minute protocol that SVG put in place.

Lorenzo further wrote:

“All of these new restrictions were placed a couple days after we made the flight reservations.  We arranged her COVID test appointment to be done on the 21st (4 days before arrival) when she landed in New York.  

“She stayed in New York at some relatives and then flew down to Miami on the 24th for an overnight layover.   We booked her a hotel room for Miami, and booked her mandatory 5-night hotel stay in St Vincent. 

“The next morning, she tried to get on her flight but was denied because she along with about 100 other passengers did not get their COVID test results yet.  Now she is stuck in Florida where it was just reported that there are 12,199 new cases.  She has no relatives to stay with and the flights to get back to her home country only happen once every Saturday.  We are scared and doing everything we can do get her back home or somewhere safe as quickly as possible,” Lorenzo said in the campaign that was created on Saturday.

She said that the situation has put “an incredible strain” on her family’s income as although her husband, King’s son, is an essential worker, and has been able to work during the pandemic, she (Lorenzo) is not “and all of these unexpected expenses has really put a toll on us”. 

She said she decided to create the GoFundMe account “to ask for any assistance no matter how small to help lighten the load on us and be able to put mommy in a hotel room in Miami or fly her back to New York to stay with relatives for the week (whichever is cheaper) and for the cost of meals. 

“Any extra money over the goal will be used to help pay for her hotel stay in St Vincent,” she said.

5 replies on “SVG’s COVID protocols leave woman, 59, broke, stranded in Miami”

  1. A reading Vincy says:

    This headline is so bias…making it seems like is only svg changing protocols last minute..Far from the truth, UK had Spain off their quarantine list and as things changed they had to put Spain back on the quarantine list…Reporting must be fair, state the the fluid nature of covid has caused the protocols across countries in the world to be fluid also..Another other countries are also charging people to pay for their quarantine stay as well but this was never mentioned….This is not about svg, it is just how the world has become nothing is simple and normal again.

  2. People need to get themselves sorted. The Humane thing to do is know your status before you attempt to board an aircraft or bunk with unsuspecting family members, with a health care system that cannot support a corona virus outbreak, we should not have to wait on the Government to make that decision for us. You plan to travel get your tests done.

    1. It was understood that she needed to take the test 3 days prior. She took the test 4 days prior. In her case, instead of the results being back In 2-3 days, some tests take 5-7 days. So even if she did take the test 7 days before arrival (the same day new protocols were made) there would still be a chance that she wouldn’t receive her results on time to board the plane. Imagine being stuck in another country and you are so close to boarding but you are denied because your test results didn’t get back on time. Another note, if it takes 7 days for your test results to come back negative, you could still contract the disease within those 7 days while you waited for results. Then you show your results at the airport and unknowingly board the plane thinking that you are still negative. This new protocol makes no sense. The tests should be done in Saint Vincent and then have passengers do mandatory quarantine in approved hotels until the results come back whether it be 2 days, 5 days, 7 days whatever.

  3. But wouldn’t it make more sense if the citizens of SVG get tested at SVD and then quarantined at one of the approved hotels while awaiting results whether it be 2-3 days which some testing sites can get your results that quickly or 5-7 days if there is an influx of test takers. And stay an additional 14 days if it is negative? Tourists should provide a negative test result before boarding and then tested again and quarantined at the approved hotels.

    In Alvina’s case, it was her understanding to take the test 3 days prior to arrival. She was able to take it 4 days prior. Unfortunately she didn’t receive her results within the 2-3 days and had to wait 5-7 days which came back negative by the way. Maybe they should have let her on knowing that she was trying to follow updated protocols because she had taken the test and did provide hotel quarantine reservations. Sad part about this is that she tried her best to not contract the disease her entire trip and then when she got denied, she happened to be highest Covid cases city in the US, and now stuck there.

  4. America has a problem with testing which is the reason why there is an increase with the pandemic. The UK will have test results in a few hours after people are tested. In the US it take days, so no one can blame the lady, because all these new rules keep coming daily and folks have a hard time keeping up with the changes. No one has the answers to the virus, not even the scientists.

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