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Michelle Forbes

Director of NEMO, Michelle Forbes. (iWN file photo)

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There was “a bit of unrest” at two emergency shelters, on Sunday, where people displaced by the eruption of La Soufriere volcano threatened to pack up and go home rather than be tested for COVID-19.

The development came as the number of cases of the viral illness detected in emergency shelters moved from 11 to 32.

Speaking on NBC Radio on Monday, Michelle Forbes, director of the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) said that some shelters are encouraging problems dealing with COVID-19.

“Some of the challenges we have, persons don’t want to be tested at all, even though they have been close contacts of those who have been positive,” Forbes said.

“And yesterday, we almost had a bit of unrest in the two shelters, people want to pack up and go home because they don’t want to be subject to being confined to their individual spaces within the emergency shelters,” she said.

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“We can see that continuing because persons want to move about even though they should be restricted until they are tested, or until we are sure that they do not have the virus.”
Speaking on the same programme, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said that shelterees “can’t have it the several ways.

“You have to stay within the space which you have been allocated for the benefit of the others persons.”

Forbes said:

“The shelter managers have made arrangements for that. They can actually deliver stuff to the persons who are in quarantine within the shelters to avoid any mixing but we are having some resistance from some of the persons. I wouldn’t say all.”

As of Sunday, there were 1,882 cases of COVID-19 reported in SVG, of which 140 are still active.

The country has recorded 11 COVID-19 deaths.

Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer Simone Keizer-Beache, speaking also on NBC Radio on Monday, noted that in the last set of new cases reported from Friday, there were 18 cases of 192 samples, giving a positivity rate of 9.4%

The average positivity rate over the last 14 was 4.98%, she said.

“But April 30, Friday, was particularly worrying because of those 18 cases, 16 were from shelters and 14 were from two shelters and two persons were in a private home that they were renting. 

“And if we compare that to what was happening on the 27th, just three days before, we have only reported 11 cases in shelters. So in three days, we went from 11 to 32 total cases in shelter.”

And, the prime minister noted that Roderick Stewart, the seismologist had suggested that people in the Orange Zone could move back into their homes.

He said that the government would want to find out about the water situations in these areas before making a decision.

Garth Saunders, general manager of the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA), said that the company was about to turn the water back on from Petit Bordel to Fitz Hughes.

He, however, said that it has to be in a phased way because the company suspect there might be some broken lines.

“But certainly, by tomorrow, we should have water back into that area, including Fitz Hughes.”

He said that on the windward side, the water had been turned on up to Chester Cottage.

CWSA had gained access to its Perseverance intake, which feeds the Georgetown area and all the way to Magum.

“That source is in the Red Zone but we are trying to access it in a measured way to complete the cleaning and maybe have the water available to residents whenever the government gives the all clear for any return to that zone. So we hope that water could be ready by midweek into that Georgetown area,” Saunders said.

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