by Linda Straker
- Breach of Quarantine Act carries maximum penalty of EC$25,000 and or 12 months imprisonment
- Asymptomatic positive Covid-19 patient linked to Sandals cluster seen associating with persons in her community
- She and another person were removed from home to state facility by police under Quarantine Act
Health authorities on Thursday night enforced the section of the Quarantine Act which provides for the Chief Medical Officer to place someone with an infectious disease who fails to comply with a quarantine request in a state-approved quarantine facility.
An asymptomatic positive Covid-19 patient who is linked to the Sandals cluster was ordered by health officials to isolate herself and her household, but for days was seen associating with persons in her community.
Individuals in the community who were aware of her Covid-19 status, informed the authorities and after forceful and persuasive discussions that involved use of threatening and abusive language from the positive case, the police were called to remove her and another person in the same household.
“The woman feels that she was negative because of the misinformation going around that some people who were told they are positive, are negative and so she even demanding to see the result,” said one person in the community with knowledge of the fiasco.
The Ministry of Health has since refuted claims about the mix up in results. “The public is reminded that the Ministry of Health is the official source for all information related to this public health crisis. The Ministry asks that the media and other individuals involved in the dissemination of information, verify such information before sharing, as failure to do so results in unnecessary panic and fear and puts us all at further risk,” said a news release from the Ministry of Health.
“Misinformation or disinformation is also unfair to the affected individuals and can have serious psychological effects. Government assures the nation that through collective action, we will get through this outbreak, but we need the fullest cooperation of all,” the Ministry urged. There are currently 45 active cases on the island, but 94 people have tested positive since the first case was confirmed in March. Fifty-one cases were confirmed within the past 7 days.
The Quarantine Act provides for law enforcement assistance to be requested if a person with an infectious disease refuses to comply with instructions from a health officer.
Health authorities have confirmed that scenario but are tight-lipped about other information because it can be deemed as a violation of privacy. “What I can say, is that 2 persons were removed and are in a state facility.”
Breach of the Quarantine Act now carries a maximum penalty of EC$25,000 and or 12 months imprisonment.