by Linda Straker
- Quarantine Covid-19 regulations amended to remove term “Caricom Bubble”
- Minimum number of entry quarantine days increased to 7 for all incoming passengers
- Leader of the Opposition supported amendment
Health Minister Nickolas Steele said that community spread of Covid-19 in a number of Caricom member states is responsible for Grenada amending its Quarantine Covid-19 regulations that will legally remove the term “Caricom Bubble” and at the same time, increase the minimum number of entry quarantine days to 7 days for all incoming passengers.
“The Caricom Bubble has burst; it’s not what we will like it to be,” Steele told members of the House of the Representatives after presenting the amended resolution for approval during the Friday, 30 October session.
In September, Grenada gazetted regulations providing for nationals from Caricom states to enter the island with only a negative PCR test and no quarantine period required. However, Steele said that in recent weeks several regional states began experiencing community spread of the virus.
The change to the entry protocol for Caricom states is part of measures aimed at controlling and containing the spread of the Covid-19 in the island. Worldwide, Covid-19 has infected and caused the death of millions. There is currently no vaccine for the virus which was discovered in the latter part of 2019.
“There is community spread in some islands and we are unable to find a common entry protocol,” Steele said, pointing out that some countries have entry protocols than are stronger or weaker when compared to what is in effect in Grenada.
“We are making adjustments to the protocols based on current science,” Steele told the House. At present Grenada has 3 active Covid-19 cases, but recorded 28 laboratory-confirmed cases since the first person was diagnosed in March. The island is one of 6 regional islands classified by the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) as having a very low risk of Covid-19 transmission.
Tourism Minister Dr Clarice Modeste supported the amendment to the regulations while her expressing her disappointment that Caricom cannot agree to a common protocol for all the islands as part of the new normal created by Covid-19. “This will no doubt affect the tourism sector…but we have to protect our people,” she said.
Tobias Clement who is presently the Leader of the Opposition, also supported the amendment describing it as in the best of the nation’s health.
Steele said that there will continuous assessment and review of the islands based on cases and those with less than 20 cases per 100,000 population in 14 days will require PCR test and quarantine for a minimum of 7 days. The in-island PCR test will continue to be done on the 4th day.
Previously the minimum number of entry quarantine days was 4 days.
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