by Linda Straker
- Persons returning from countries classified medium or high-risk hotspots exited quarantine facility without authorisation from a health officer
- Any person who knowingly violates any section of that legislation shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of $10,000
A senior health officer has confirmed that since reopening the airport and other ports of entry for commercial passengers, several people from medium and high-risk zones have breached mandatory quarantine as required by the new public health protocols.
Grenada adopted new public health protocol as a means of containing and controlling the spread of Covid-19. “These persons have exited the quarantine facility without authorisation from a health officer,” said Dr Shawn Charles when asked to explain how the quarantine was breached.
“We have had a number of persons who have committed breaches where the quarantine is concerned, and we are in the process of taking the necessary legal steps against these individuals,” he said. The quarantine law states any person who knowingly violates any section of that legislation shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of $10,000 and to imprisonment for 6 months.
“We do observe that there are individuals, that for different reasons are not in agreement with being quarantined, and there are individuals that are finding ways to evade quarantine,” Dr Charles disclosed.
“Of course we are continuing to insist on these measures because they are designed to protect the public in general, and we continue to pursue the required actions against the individuals who insist on evading these public health preventative measures,” Dr Charles said.
Dr Charles, for public health reasons, preferred not to provide the number of people who have engaged in the illegal act, but confirmed that they were individuals returning from countries classified under Grenada’s Covid-19 new health protocol as medium or high-risk hotspots for the contagion. It is understood that health and legal officials are currently engaging the relevant due process to have those who breach quarantine have their matter be heard in court.
Dr Charles said that health officials are continuously revising the health protocols, because of constant changes that occurring all over the world in terms of daily infections and deaths related to the disease which has infected and caused the death of millions worldwide.
“We are constantly looking at the protocol and looking at ways we can adjust,” Charles said in a virtual news conference in which an update was provided on matters relating to the Covid-19. This was the first update by the new Covid-19 advisory body since the Covid-19 Response Task Force terms of reference expired on 31 July 2020.
At present, the health protocol exempts people from the OECS and Barbados from mandatory quarantine, once a negative PCR test result dated no less than 7 days before travel date is presented at the port of entry. Those from the wider Caricom region will have to spend 48 hours in quarantine once a second PCR conducted on-island is negative.
Persons from medium-risk countries which include Canada, and some European Union and Commonwealth states, will have to presence a negative PCR upon arrival and conduct a second PCR immediately upon arrival. The quarantine period will be for 10 days, but a negative result within 48 hours or within the first 7 days will result in home quarantine, with an agreement to allow a geofencing wristwatch for monitoring purposes.
High-risk countries are the USA and any other territories where there are more than 90 cases per 100,000 population. Persons arriving from high-risk areas will be required to show a negative PCR test, be tested immediately upon arrival, and spend 14 days in quarantine with the option of the last 4 days in home quarantine using the geofencing wristwear device.
Home quarantine also comes with restricted movement of the individual. The geofencing monitoring is a service offered to the government by a private company, Caribbean International Trading Inc.
Since Grenada recorded its first Covid-19 case in March, the island has recorded 24 confirmed cases. At present, there are no known active cases. More than 1,600 PCR tests have been done, while more than 7,800 rapid tests have been conducted.
All incoming passengers at ports of entry are requested to fill several forms such as a health declaration, waiver of liability, and public health locator forms.
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