A lawyer has asked that Medical Officer of Health Dr. Roger Duncan explain to the court why some persons who test positive for COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are sent home, even as persons who arrive with a negative test result must be quarantined in a hotel for 14 days.
Defence lawyer Kay Bacchus-Baptiste has asked that the doctor explain this, as part of a bail hearing for activist Luzette King.
King, a 57-year-old retired nurse who has Vincentian and US citizenship, is charged that on Jan. 30, at Argyle International Airport, she entered SVG by air and did not present herself in person to the nearest immigration officer.
King pleaded not guilty to the charge during a virtual appearance before the Serious Offences Court on Monday.
Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne set her bail at EC$2,000.
However, the issue of where King was to complete her 14-day quarantine is in contention.
iWitness News understands that King, who was held at the Biabou Police Station between Saturday and Monday, is currently staying at a hotel.
We were further reliably informed that the Crown, citing what Bacchus-Baptiste termed an incomplete certificate from Duncan, wanted King to quarantine for 14 days at a hotel.
King had applied for a waiver of hotel quarantine asking that she do so at a house where she lives alone.
Her lawyer is arguing that Duncan’s certificate seems to suggest that such a waiver is open to persons who apply.
iWitness News understands that King received no response to her alleged application for a waiver, submitted days before she travelled from the United States to SVG last Saturday.
iWitness News was further informed that Bacchus-Baptiste asked that Duncan appear before the court so he could be cross examined as to why health officials sent King to a hotel, even as she had no money to pay for the quarantine, and could do so safely at home – as she had done last September.
The lawyer also wanted the doctor to explain to the court why persons who have actually tested positive for COVID-19 are allowed to go to their home, where, in some instances, they live with other family members, while people who test negative for the virus must go to a hotel.
The court adjourned the matter to this Thursday.
iWitness News is aware of a number of cases where people in SVG who tested positive for COVID-19 were sent home.
Some of these persons live in houses where they cannot safely isolate themselves from other residents and, in some instances, other family members have subsequently tested positive.
Further, in some cases, health officials have not checked up on the person who initially tested positive, as they had promised.
Also, some patients have been unsuccessful in their repeated attempts to reach health officials for a clearance test more than two weeks after testing positive – the average time by which most people recover from COVID-19.