Flight crew test positive in SVG after getting COVID results waiver
Two members of a group allowed to travel to St. Vincent without COVID-19 negative test results although they departed a country with community spread of the illness, tested positive for the virus after arriving in SVG.
iWitness News was reliably informed that the positive test results among the six-member group came even as they were lobbying health officials to allow them to quarantine for three days, rather than 14.
The six persons arrived in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Jan. 16, 2021 — amidst a spike in cases locally.
iWitness News has obtained a Jan. 15, 2020 document in which Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache, as chair of the Health Services Committee of the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) granted the exemption.
“Passengers listed above is granted permission to enter the state of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” the document said.
It also identified a hotel in St. Vincent at which the persons were to quarantine.
The document further said that the passengers were required to be tested on arrival in SVG, to quarantine for 14-days until cleared by the Ministry of Health, and to be retested as stated within the ministry’s protocol.
At a press conference on Tuesday, iWitness News asked the Ministry of Health what informed the decision to allow the waiver and whether any of those persons tested positive for COVID-19 while in quarantine.
“Okay, so the query is whether or not the Ministry of Health used its discretion to grant a permission for some travellers to enter the country,” Keizer-Beache said in response.
She said that the Health Services Subcommittee “has various protocols and these protocols — the general protocol, as you remember, at the bottom has at the discretion of the chief medical officer or the medical officer of health.
“The particular situation is a matter that was assessed as persons travelling in a private plane, and therefore, they were all of the same risk level to themselves, they were then instructed to quarantine as everyone else would coming from a high-risk country,” the chief medical officer said.
“And on that basis, because those persons were not posing a risk to anyone else on the flight, they were allowed to come into the country on the discretion of the chief medical officer, myself,” she further stated.
“In terms of the other question, you are asking for the personal, private and confidential information of a client of the ministry of health and it would be against my ethical standards to provide you with that information,” Keizer-Beache said.