by Linda Straker
- Yacht passengers attempted to berth in Carriacou
- Anyone who enters illegally poses a risk to country
- Any vessel wanting to enter Grenada needs to get permission from Grenada Ports Authority
Health Minister, Nickolas Steele, has disclosed that health and law enforcement personnel recently escorted persons on a yacht out of Grenada’s waters because of failure to comply with the new Covid-19 protocol for entering the country.
“We have had attempts of individuals entering the country without going through the normal channel,” Steele disclosed in a news conference on Tuesday 14 July. He pointed out that anyone who enters the island illegally poses a risk to the country and may be responsible for new Covid-19 cases.
“We have been able to find and stop them before entering the country, but what if someone does get through, what if that someone did get through and unfortunately one of those gatherings that we saw on the weekend, one of those persons were there infected with the Covid-19? We will have a sudden increase in community spread for 2 reasons,” he said.
“One, someone did not respect our borders and controls but 2, and most importantly, because we as a community did not respect our own protocols by not having mass gatherings, wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.” The Health Minister expressed his dissatisfaction with those who are failing to comply with the protocols.
Videos circulating via social platforms shows hundreds of young Grenadians party on a beach in the north of the island. The Emergency Powers Regulations forbid gatherings beyond 20 for social activities, while 50 persons are allowed for funerals and weddings.
Steele said the mass gatherings are well known for being super-spreaders of Covid-19. “The most important part of us remaining safe is our behaviour and our ability to maintain the new norm. While we as a ministry and as a government are putting all these measures in place, I will be the first to say as I have consistently said throughout this pandemic, no plan is perfect. We must always assume that we have missed something,” he said.
“That is why we continue to implore our citizens to make sure that they maintain a certain protocol, wearing of mask, keeping social distancing, avoiding large gathering. If we follow those rules we put an extra level of safety in our communities,” Steele said.
With regards to the protocol for yachts entering the country it is similar to risk analysis in terms of green, yellow and red zones for commercial passengers. Any vessel wanting to enter Grenada to date needs to get in touch with the Grenada Ports Authority for permission and then be scheduled because our borders are still officially closed.
“Upon getting in touch with the Ports Authority, they will be told what time they can enter, so that the Coast Guard can escort them appropriately to one of the two ports for clearance that are now open, then to one of the quarantine facilities that we have identified,” Steele. He explained that any yacht doing otherwise is breaching the new Covid-19 protocol and regulations.
Approved yachts and passengers must remain in 14 days quarantine at a designated port before the passengers can enter the land space. Permission to enter the land space is approved after a negative rapid and PCR test.
The yacht and its passengers which attempted to enter the island illegally were from different regions of the world including Australia and the Middle East. It entered Grenada’s marine space by attempting to berth in the Grenadine island of Carriacou.
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