by Curlan Campbell
- Negative PCR test no later than 7 days before travelling to Grenada is required
- Negative medium risk individuals must agree to GPS tracking for home quarantine or remain in quarantine at state-approved facility
New protocols for arrivals are in place as Grenada continues its phased approach to reopening its borders to commercial flights. These protocols were outlined by Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shawn Charles, when he addressed members of the media on Monday, 17 August 2020.
The recently updated protocols will determine how the country will welcome travellers, carry out the necessary diagnostic screening and ensure that individuals adhere to rules governing quarantine as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.
According to Dr Charles, depending on the epidemiological situation, countries have been divided into 3 risk zones: Low, Medium and High, based on their level of Covid-19 infections.
Low-risk zones are those countries where the number of infections in the past 14 days are less than 20 per 100,000. Medium risk countries are those with 20-59 infections per 100,000 while countries listed as high risk are those with 60+ infections per 100,000.
Dr Charles also reminded people wanting to return or to visit Grenada, that they will be required to have a negative PCR test no later than 7 days before travelling in order to enter. However, he said countries such as Barbados, Dominica, St Lucia St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent are exempted from fulfilling this requirement. “They are requested to fill out a number of forms such as health declarations, waiver of liability and public health locator forms. And in the event that a public health official on screening that person at the port of entry determines that the person needs further testing, that person will have another PCR test done and they will be required to stay in quarantine until we get the result. Generally, within 48 hours, those results should be back.”
Regarding people coming from medium risk countries will be required to be tested before and upon entry and will be required to observe a 10-day quarantine with the first 48 hours in state-approved facility pending result of the test. Once the test comes back negative, individuals will be allowed to spend the next 8 days at their homes, once they agree to be tracked using GPS. Dr Charles said if they refuse, they will have no other choice but to remain at the state-approved facility for the duration of their quarantine.
To ensure that people quarantining at home comply with the regulation, individuals will be required to wear a geofencing watch which will alert health authorities once the perimeter has been breached.
People coming from high risk zones will be required to 14-day quarantine at a state-approved facility after having PCR test.
“These individuals will spend a minimum of 10 days at this facility whether the test is positive or negative before the option of continuing quarantine at home can be offered. The individuals that will be allowed home are those whose PCR test are negative and that is after 10 days. Individuals that are allowed to go home after 10 days to continue the remaining 4 days at home, they will be required to wear the geofencing watch,” Dr Charles said.
Chairperson of the Health Covid-19 Committee, Dr Bert Brathwaite, said that individuals will also have to bear the cost of wearing these watches, but assured the public that it will be far less expensive than having to be pay to be quarantined.
“Watches are not the property of government. It is a private entity that has purchased these watches and they will be responsible for fixing the watches and then they will await the guidance from the Ministry of Health as to when the people are out of quarantine, to remove the watches. The cost will have to be borne by the individuals wearing the watches but it will be far cheaper for individuals to put on the watch and go home than to stay in the quarantine facility,” Dr Brathwaite said.
Meanwhile, the Health Covid-19 Committee remains on alert for possible cases of new infections as a result of carnival-like activities that saw mass gatherings of people. They are calling on those who took part in these festivities to report any signs of illness to the authorities. The committee is also disappointed that individuals from medium and high-risk countries have attempted to evade quarantine, and some of whom have breached quarantine without getting their PCR test results. Dr Charles said at present the Ministry of Health is taking legal actions against these individuals.