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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo by Lance Neverson/Facebook)
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo by Lance Neverson/Facebook)
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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is standing by his government’s policy of sending local COVID-19 patients to their home to isolate while they recover.

The policy has come in for some criticism, especially in light of the fact that all persons who arrive in the countries have to quarantine at a government-approved facility.

Persons arriving in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have to pay for this 14-day quarantine even if they test negative before and on arrival in the country and even if they live alone or can properly quarantine or isolate at home.

At a press conference last week, Gonsalves said that all persons arriving in the country are sent into quarantine in an effort to keep the COVID-19 variants out of the country.

But iWitness News pressed for an explanation of the reasons why locals who test negative are sent home to isolate, in some instances, in houses where the ideal isolation arrangements cannot be undertaken.

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“The fact of the matter is this: … there are a small number of homes in this country, where you may have a problem with somebody who’s positive, where they cannot be properly quarantined away from others, and who may be particularly vulnerable,” the prime minister said.

“You may be positive, you are not sick in the sense of having to be hospitalized or having to go in isolation,” Gonsalves said.

He said that in those circumstances, his government has made 30 rooms available for persons to go.

The rooms are located at a guesthouse leased by the government and are intended for persons who are positive but do not require hospitalisation but cannot properly isolate at their home.

Persons who move into these rooms have to provide their own meals.

Gonsalves said that, to the best of his knowledge, at the time, there were six persons at the guesthouse.

“See, the fact of the matter is, in the year 2001, the census shows that you had about 30,000 households in St. Vincent and the Grenadines with about four persons, close to four persons on average to each household.

“By 2012, you had 36,000 plus households, three persons per household, on an average, and since 2012, on my calculation, there is an estimate of about another 5,000 houses which have been built. So that you have on an average I will say 2.7 maybe 2.8 persons, per house,” he said.

Gonsalves said that the statistics as they relate to cases by age groups are “very interesting”.

He noted that, at the time, 173 persons ages 15 to 24 had tested positive for COVID, 237 persons ages 25 to 34 and 206 persons of those ages 35 to 44.

“Well, there is no report that any person in any of these age groups has gotten very sick. So what these persons have to do is that when they are in households, they make arrangements inside of the households to quarantine, isolate themselves from persons who may be older and more vulnerable,” the prime minister said.

“And if you look at the numbers, 55 to 64 age group, there are 98; 65 to 74 –62;  75 to 84 — 13; 85 to 94 — six 6; 85 to 110 – three,” Gonsalves said.  

“In short, the bulk of the COVID cases are between persons between the ages of 15 and 44. That is what this data show. In the individual households, there is enough space for persons to properly quarantine, but you have to take responsibility inside there. It is not practical to put everybody who is tested positive in a hotel, or in a government facility.

“First of all, a lot of people not gonna want to go. And you’re not going to be able to compel them because we have a place now where you can have 30 in two places, but you only have six, because people don’t want to go. They prefer to quarantine in their own rooms and they can do so but they have to do it properly in accordance with the protocols.

“We have to be data-driven. We have to be scientifically driven and not be swayed by positions which don’t have as the basis of decision making, facts and science,” the prime minister said.  

8 replies on “Most homes can accommodate C-19 isolation — PM”

  1. I am struggling Prime Minister. You are trying to defend the indefensible. The Covid-19 status of an arrival, even with a negative PCR, is uncertain and therefore the 14 day quarantine period in an accommodation which is approved and where the individual can be monitored, is absolutely necessary. But if we are serious about containing the spread of the virus in the community, how then does it make sense for people who are POSITIVE to be sent to an accommodation (in this case, home) of which the authorities have little or no idea of how suitable it is for quarantine purposes? Further, the mean (average) is the most sensitive of the measures of central tendency, and using it, as you, to support this policy decision is worrying indeed, because it skews the suitability of the housing stock for quarantine purposes. It would be interesting to know how many of the houses in SVG have to accommodate a family of 4 (mother, father and 2 kids) or more. Of those, how many have only toilet, one bath, one kitchen, etcetera, etcetera? There is a real risk therefore, that someone in such households will contract the virus and unknowingly pass it on to someone else and so on, and so on. The extent to which this policy contributed to the exponential increase in the infection rate needs to be investigated. The people of SVG deserve that much.

  2. Oswald alexander says:

    Why must a returning national be denied his constitutional right to freedom of movement when he or she has been tested negative for covid -19 . WHY not a fine imposed on said returning national of $2000 .00 with two months imprisonment for disobeying the quarantine stay home protocols .Why coerce a returning national into a debt he or she might have to find from a third party causing pain and sufferings to that returning national .

    1. Your solution makes more sense, but I am very extreme in a different way. I just think we should protect the vulnerable. In Belarus they tell the young and healthy (that contract the virus) to stay home for at least 3-4 days. They have one of the lowest Corona Virus death rates on Earth.
      We now know that people do not collapse and fall on their face on the streets and the hospitals are NOT filled with thousands on respirators. THIS IS THE BIGGEST FEAR PROPAGANDA SUCCESS IN WORLD HISTORY!
      As they say:
      “You will own nothing and be happy”…That’s an order!

  3. 2.7 persons per household???? I live in a community that has 11 houses, 2 are vacant, 2 have 3 persons and 7 has more than 4 occupants of these 9 houses only 2 have the capacity to possible isolate persons unless you break into the vacant ones.
    According to the PM with 2.7 per household and with 35000 “family” “houses/homes we are an affluent nation and the finance minister has no idea what he is talking about when he suggested the need to reopen schools to feed the impoverished students. Just following the science

  4. Harveu farrell says:

    14 days quarantine to keep out the British and Brazilian variants. Well Mr. Minority Leader this quarantine measure has been in place long before any such variants

  5. Kay BacchusBaptiste says:

    This is absolute rubbish. If you wish to keep out the variants close the borders like hosts of other countries
    You are all about fleecing money but not spending appropriately for Covid isolation
    But you think Vincentian believe all your diatribe

  6. This government has lost its way in handling the covid19 pandemic,,it’s unbelievable The way they do things,, vincentions are in serious danger!

  7. I wish to come home but not every one will able or afford a hotel ..the government don’t have a place where ppl can stay ..or let the national sign a form and do regular checks at their home to make sure they at home

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