(PRESS RELEASE) — Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Carvin Malone has laid to rest the fake news report that two returning nationals tested positive for the coronavirus.
He made it forceful and clear that the two persons have both tested negative for the virus but are still undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
“The Ministry of Health is advising the public that a party of two nationals, shortly after arrival on returning to the Territory, were tested for the virus that causes COVID-19.
“I am pleased to report that both results were returned as negative,” Honourable Malone stated in a live COVID-19 update to the Territory this evening, June 28, 2020.
The health minister said the decision to conduct the test at the beginning of the 14-day quarantine period, resulted from reports reaching the Ministry of Health that the two travellers had reportedly been exposed to the COVID-19 virus while overseas.
Meanwhile, Hon Malone said the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing at Dr D. Olando Smith Hospital was carried out upon arrival as a precautionary measure to verify whether any two of the persons under investigation were currently carrying the virus, although neither of them had exhibited symptoms of the disease.
According to Verdict Medical Devices, PCR tests are used to directly detect the presence of an antigen, rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies. By detecting viral RNA, which will be present in the body before antibodies form or symptoms of the disease are present, the tests can tell whether or not someone has the virus very early on.
Hon Malone also reminded that the re-entry protocols also require both travellers to be retested at the end of the 14-day quarantine period before being approved to exit their quarantine facility.
The minister added that the established port health procedures for the handling of suspected cases were followed at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on arrival of the flight that carried both passengers, in compliance with international health regulations.
“Our airport is open. Our people are coming home after a long wait. It is likely we may have people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 when returning. We have protocols in place for dealing with such occurrences,” Hon Malone assured.
268 nationals returned; 169 tests done
He said to date 268 nationals have returned to the VI since the phased border reopening.
Some 169 of the returning residents have been tested and all have returned negative results; 167 persons have been approved to exit the quarantine facility.
Meanwhile, 110 persons remain in quarantine. As of June 26, 2020, 439 persons were tested in total.
The Virgin Islands remains COVID-19 free.