by Linda Straker
- Several returning nationals from New York in government quarantine facilities
- They had no intention to comply with mandatory 4-day quarantine for red zone passengers
- Evidence of paid quarantine bookings are only acceptable confirmation on arrival
- Application for home quarantine must be done 7 days in advance
Health and tourism authorities placed a number of people from New York in government quarantine facilities last Saturday.
A plan to trick the arrivals health protocol system was busted after they confessed that they had no intention to comply with the mandatory 4-day quarantine for red zone passengers.
Last week, government announced through its official Covid-19 website, that the quarantine period for red zone passengers would be reduced to 4 days. Returning nationals from a red zone have the opportunity to be quarantined at home, but it must be applied for at least 7 days in advance. Once an application is made, a team from the Ministry of Health will inspect the place/site to confirm it is in compliance with all the criteria for home quarantine.
“What we have found is that a number of persons will do the booking. They will make some booking and get some confirmation that they have made a booking, but they hadn’t paid and then they arrive here and say I want to go home to my facility. We only did it because you asked us to,” Tourism Minister, Clarice Modeste, said during the weekly post-cabinet briefing on Tuesday.
Confirmation bookings must be presented at the departure airport and presented upon arrival in Grenada. “While we are aware that some will have challenges because some went away for specified periods and had to stay longer, we also need our citizens to understand that it is all for the safety for everybody.” Modeste explained that evidence of paid bookings will be the only acceptable confirmation.
She also confirmed that persons who arrived with unpaid and invalid confirmations were not allowed to go their homes, but were mandated to remain in a government facility for the first 4 days, awaiting the result of a Covid PCR test.
Health Minister, Nickolas Steele, said that once an arriving passenger receives health clearance, the port of departure will determine the next step. “If you are coming from the Caricom bubble or green zone, you can leave the airport however you choose; that is, you can have friends or family come pick you up and you can leave the airport.”
Grenada has categorised countries into different zones using their Covid-19 daily cases. Those with higher daily confirmed cases, are in the red zone, while those with lower cases are placed in the yellow zone. Some countries in the Caricom bubble are in the lowest risk or green zone.
Steele explained that all passengers from red zone destinations must leave the airport with approved transportation to an approved quarantine site for quarantine and PCR testing before they are allowed to freely mingle with nationals, but there is an exception for returning nationals. “We are allowing individuals under certain conditions to home quarantine. That is to say, individuals who wish to spend the first 4 days after arrival in their own home can apply for this. This application must be done at least 7 days before travel.” He explained that the new health protocol provides for a red zone visitor to remain at the approved site/hotel property if they do not wish to mingle outside the property.
The application for home quarantine must be done in advance. “That allows the ministry and our personnel to visit the site and certify certain criteria that must be met and in particular, the site must be independent of any other house. There must be no one else there, except the traveller or the travellers who came in together as a family, or friends,” he said. “You must be able to receive supplies without human interaction, that is physical interaction. So, you should be able to have things delivered to your doorstep and those kinds of things.”
“Not all homes will be suitable for home quarantine, but we will do our best to inspect and to approve wherever possible, because we do understand the benefits of spending quarantine at home, but we do understand that we have to protect the nation at large and make sure we do not take any undue risk,” he said.
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