“If persons who return choose not to pay attention to the quarantine, you may push the government to suspend the flights from the United States of America until things improve there.”
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves
(CMR) It was reported in the news yesterday that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have recorded twelve new COVID-19 cases after re-opening its borders on July 1 through a phased re-opening to tourists. Now, three weeks later the government is considering banning flights from the United States.
Just yesterday the Bahamas made the decision to add the U.S. to its banned list of countries after it saw a spike for the same three week period.
Authorities have said that of 12 new cases, 11 are associated with American Airlines (AA) flight 945, which brought 155 passengers to the island on July 11. Another AA flight arrived from Miami Saturday with four additional cases of COVID-19 among the passengers.
On reopening (phase one) the country had requested a coronavirus questionnaire to be completed prior to arrival, tourists undergo a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival and then go into quarantine for 24 hours in a hotel or rental pending the outcome of the test results.
It was possible to escape the mandatory quarantine if a visitor arrived with a negative (IgG & IgM) antibody test (tested within 5 days prior to entry) and a negative COVID-19 PCR test (tested within 2 days prior to entry). In this case, travelers would not be required to quarantine and will only be asked to monitor their temperatures and “report any elevations to the local health authority.”
However, the surge in positive cases prompted the government to implement a five-day mandatory quarantine while awaiting the result of the PCR test.
Phase 2 is to begin on August 2.
Addressing the issue PM Gonsalves said that they would be trying to tighten existing protocols. However, next Saturday could be the last flight from the U.S.
Gonsalves said that St. Vincent Government only agreed to allow the flight from the United States next Saturday “because people have come here and they left their jobs with the expectation that the flight will go back.”
St Vincent and the Grenadines will continue to allow flights from Canada he added.