Thu | Aug 6, 2020

Vincentian families reject sailors despite negative COVID-19 tests

Published:Wednesday | May 13, 2020 | 10:38 AM
St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves - Contributed photo

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, CMC –  Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says that five of the 91 sailors who returned to St Vincent and the Grenadines on Saturday were placed in state quarantine because their families did not want them.

Gonsalves made the revelation during a recent interview on local radio.

“Well, the point is this — and I don’t blame – look if you have an elderly mother or father in a home, why would you want to take the risk, particularly if they have some pre-existing conditions?” the prime minister said.

“You know, diabetes, hypertension, they have a respiratory problem, one or the other might be prone to some heart attack or something like that. They don’t want to get a flu, ordinary flu. You know what I mean?

“And then there are others who will say, ‘well, you know what? our situation is just not suitable for you to come,” he continued.

Gonsalves said he prides himself “in having the pulse of the Vincentian people on all of these questions.

“I listen to them, you know. And when they don’t — the fact that they don’t go on social media and deal with the issue or they don’t call in, it doesn’t matter.

“It doesn’t mean that they’re not sending messages for me, you know. They have the confidence that I’m not going to move. So if they satisfy that Ralph is holding the line, they don’t have to kick up like intire (unruly male) donkey.”

The prime minister said that of the 91 persons who returned on the cruise ship, the Carnival Glory, two tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, meaning that they had been exposed to the virus.

“And the Chief Medical Officer said, ‘Well, you have to tell me who else came from the particular ship to join the Carnival Glory’,” the prime minister said.

He said there were four others and she said that those six persons will have to be isolated.

“In other words, the two tested plus the four who had been associated with them on another ship which came onto the Carnival Glory in the relevant period — because they have to do the period study,”

The antibodies were discovered using the rapid rest.

The prime minister said that the six persons will be administered the more accurate PCR tests.

“Because remember, the particular rapid tests which were done to the satisfaction of our authorities, that’s 97% accuracy. The PCR, which is the gold standard, is 99.9,” he said.

He said that the persons were not taken to the isolation facility at Argyle “because they’re not sick for isolation, but we have a unit where we could isolate you — you’re sick but not sick for our specialised isolation unit.

“So you’re put somewhere else. We have that facility. We had prepared that facility for precisely this kind of group,” he said.

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