by Linda Straker
- All approved activities for the next 2 weeks cancelled, beginning 13 December 2020
- Dozens of positive cases linked directly and indirectly to Sandals Resort
- Sandals to redirect incoming guests and evacuate those who are Covid-19 negative
- Government will not be adopting lockdown measures
The sudden spike in Covid-19 cases on the island has caused the Covid-19 approval committee for granting permission for mass gathering events to rescind all approved activities for the next 2 weeks, beginning 13 December 2020.
“We are asking for all social gatherings to cease at least for the next week or two.” Health Minister Nickolas Steele said in a news conference on Sunday, which was held to update the nation on the dozens of positive cases that are linked directly and indirectly to the Sandals Resort – one of the island’s all-inclusive properties – owned by Jamaican hotelier Gordon “Butch” Stewart.
“We have rescinded all permissions granted before the cluster, and these events will be re-evaluated before anything can go ahead,” Dr Bert Brathwaite said, as a guest on “Perspectives”, the Monday morning television programme.
“The positive cases include guests and employees, as well as their contacts. The discovery was made following proactive testing of employees and guests on Friday and Saturday, as part of the Ministry’s continuous testing of frontline staff in sectors directly related to tourism, travel and health,” said a news release that came from the Ministry of Health, hours before the news conference.
“Given the health emergency that this situation warrants, the Government of Grenada, through the Ministry of Health, has deployed all efforts, including personnel and resources, to address this grave threat to public health, safety, order and the maintenance of medical and other supplies and services essential to life in Grenada.” The news release disclosed that unprecedented, aggressive efforts have been taken to further contain this outbreak of Covid-19.
“The Sandals Resort has now been deemed to be a place of screening and assessment. Entire households related to the confirmed cases have also been quarantined, and contact tracers are actively working to source other potentially exposed people in other areas of public life and activity,” the release added.
However, Steele told journalists during the virtual news conference that Government has instructed the management of Sandals to redirect incoming guests, and evacuate those who are Covid-19 negative from the Grenada property.
“Sandals has been given instructions to immediately move all guests off the island, or redirect other incoming guests to other islands or to cancel their trip, so we can focus purely on our people,” said the Health Minister. He used the opportunity to disclose that a thorough investigation will be conducted to determine if there was a flaw or a breach of the existing health protocols for the operations of the hospitality industry.
The Health Minister said that Government will not be adopting lockdown measures as was done in March as a means of controlling and containing the spread of the virus. “We simply cannot close our borders. As a nation we recognise we do have to keep our borders open and put controls possible on this to protect our citizens here in Grenada,” he said.
“As a government, we will try to balance as best as possible, the balance between saving lives and livelihoods, but a balance must be found… Covid-19 is not going to give up easily, the battle is not lost, but the battle is not yet won,” said Steele as he called on citizens to cooperate with health authorities and contact tracing teams.
Grenada, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics has 26 new active cases, including a 10-year-old child. The total number of Covid-19 positive cases to date is 69, with more expected to be added due to the dozens of individuals who are awaiting results.
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