by Linda Straker
- NDC wants government to institute a temporary but immediate ban on all flights and cruise ships from countries with confirmed cases of Covid-19
- Ready to mobilise membership to reduce health hazard from reaching Grenada
The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) wants the Government of Grenada to institute a temporary but immediate ban on all flights and cruise ships arriving at the island’s ports of entry from countries with confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, which has since been named Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“We remain concerned over the fact that commercial flights and private jet planes continue to land at the Maurice Bishop International Airport from nations with confirmed cases of Covid-19. We firmly believe that the Government of Grenada must institute a temporary but immediate ban on all flights and cruise ships arriving from countries with confirmed cases of Covid-19 with the exception of any necessary transportation arrangement for the return of our Grenadian students in China,” the party said in a news release disseminated on Tuesday, 3 March 2020.
“Failure to impose travel restrictions will without a doubt place Grenada at a higher risk and could expose our citizens to the Covid-19 virus. We stand ready to mobilise our membership in any national effort to reduce this international health hazard from reaching our shores,” said the release, the headline of which “was NDC advises Grenada to impose travel restrictions amid the heightened threat of Covid-19.”
The virus was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has since spread to more than 70 countries worldwide including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Brazil as well as the regional territories of the Dominican Republic, St Martin and St Barts.
When asked if the NDC will like to see a restriction on flights from the UK, USA and Canada which are the main international hubs for returning nationals or visitors, Ron Redhead, the Assistant Public Relations Officer of the NDC said, “That will be totally up to the people implementing the ban, but what we are saying is that we must impose travel restrictions immediately because of the situation of the heightened level. We have not singled out any particular countries, but then again it will be up to the discretion of the people implementing the ban.”
On 1 February 2020, the Government of Grenada issued an advisory explaining that as a result of the continued spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, and a new and updated threat assessment by our Ministry of Health, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (Carpha), the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Government of Grenada will not allow any non-national with a travel history within the last 14 days from mainland China, whether in transit or originating, to enter any local port as of 12 am on Sunday, 2 February 2020.
“Any national returning to Grenada with similar travel history will be quarantined for 14 days,” the release said. The travel ban on non-nationals with recent travel history to mainland China and the mandatory quarantine for Grenadians returning home after visiting or transiting through mainland China, will remain in effect until further notice.
No other countries have been added to the restriction list since 1 February.
“Our sub-regional response through Carpha does not support more travel bands. We are certain that travel bands will not prevent the virus from reaching our shores except if we lock down the country to the outside world,” said Dr Francis Martin, Acting Chief Medical Officer.