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Two Covid 19 Patients Make Full Recovery As Island Prepares For Returning Nationals

Image of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Sharon Belmar-George

As of May 7, 2020 Saint Lucia has recorded a total of 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Two additional cases have recovered bringing it to seventeen the number of cases that have fully recovered and have been reintegrated into their communities. We now have one (1) active case currently in hospital care and the individual is recovering well. On Friday, May 8, 2020, the Department of Health and Wellness will receive 219 Saint Lucians who are cruise ship workers on the Carnival Glory and Caribbean Princess.

Image of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Sharon Belmar-George
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Sharon Belmar-George

These passengers will be received and placed into quarantine for a period of 14 days as per the country’s established protocol. Quarantine is necessary for persons who are well, with no symptoms of ill-health, but who may have been exposed to a communicable disease. It restricts the movement of healthy people who may develop a disease after possible exposure to an infectious agent, in this context this agent can be COVID-19. Quarantine requires people to remain in a designated location for a specific period of time. Active monitoring by health care specialists, including temperature checks and assessment of respiratory symptoms are done routinely for the entire quarantine period.

As part of the national COVID-19 response, quarantine centres have been set up in Saint Lucia using various hotels to facilitate the large numbers of returning nationals through the repatriation process as well as any non-nationals that may arrive in country. Institutional quarantine remains the standard for Saint Lucia. However, in certain cases based on assessments home quarantine is facilitated. Isolation on the other hand is necessary for people who are sick, and it allows for the separation of people who are sick from those who are well. It restricts the movement of people with an infectious disease to stop the spread of illness. It allows for appropriate treatment in a healthcare type setting.

According to the Quarantine Act, Chapter 11.16 Act 13 of 1945 revised 31 December, 2001 the Quarantine Authority is the Chief Medical Officer. The Quarantine Authority has the power to decide and govern quarantine facilities and indicate the persons or things that are detained for observation or isolation. When any place is in use for isolation purposes, a person may not enter or leave, except with the general or specific permission of the Quarantine Authority. Under this Act, the police officers have the duty to enforce compliance, it also states that they may arrest without a warrant any person whom he or she has reasonable cause to believe to have committed any offence. International travel has been restricted from March 24, 2020 under Statutory Instrument No.43 or 2020 for the purposes of preventing, controlling and suppressing the spread of COVID-19.

This restriction does not apply to outgoing flights or outgoing ships, cargo or cargo ships, commercial courier flights, emergency medical flights and emergency flights approved by the Civil Aviation Authority. The instrument allows for exceptions with the written approval by the competent authority. During this period, exceptions have been made in the case of returning nationals from Martinique, and prisoners to be repatriated, for medical and other urgent reasons and in this case for cruise workers. The Ministry of External Affairs is working with Ambassadors to facilitate the safe return of nationals. This however is done ensuring that quarantine capacity is maintained.

The Department of Health and Wellness once again asks the public to work with us to reduce the impact of COVID-19. Persons coming in need to abide by the quarantine protocols. We ask that relatives support their loved ones in quarantine by encouraging their adherence to the requirements of quarantine. On another note, if you are aware of anyone coming in by unofficial means, do alert the authorities, if you placed in quarantine, please stay there. These measures are to keep all of us all safe.

As of May 6, 2020 the World Health Organization reported a total of 3, 588, 773 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally with 247, 503 deaths. There are now 1, 507, 148 confirmed cases in the region of the Americas. The affected countries within the region include Dominican Republic (8,480), Haiti (100), Barbados (82), Jamaica (471), Cuba (1,685), Dominica (16), Grenada (21), Trinidad and Tobago (116), Guyana (92), Antigua and Barbuda (25), Saint Vincent and Grenadines (17), and Martinique (181). A total of 575 tests have been conducted nationally.

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