(PRESS RELEASE) — Saint Lucia received its first international flight on Thursday, July 9, 2020 since the border closure in March this year.
Quarantine is necessary for people who are physically well but who may have been exposed to an infectious disease, in this case, COVID-19. These people at the time of being placed into quarantine they are well with no evidence of infection. It restricts the movement of healthy people who may later develop an infection after being exposed to the virus. It requires people to stay in the location they have been placed into by the health team for the specified period of time. Active monitoring is conducted throughout the quarantine period, including daily temperature checks and checking for respiratory symptoms.
Presently, quarantine centers have been set up in Saint Lucia using various hotels to facilitate the large numbers of returning nationals and any non-nationals that may arrive of concern. This has proved to be an important measure in containing the spread of COVID-19 on island. Anyone who fails to adhere to these quarantine measures contributes to the spreading of the virus and this can have serious implications on Saint Lucia’s ability to effectively manage the epidemic.
It must be noted that the main policy for passengers returning into Saint Lucia outside of the Caribbean Bubble is institutional quarantine. After assessments by the health team, some passengers who qualify for home quarantine will be monitored and managed within their homes.
These include: 1. Minors (less than 18 years) and families with young children. 2. Individuals with underlying medical conditions or disabilities. 3. Persons coming from low-risk areas (as defined by World Health Organization transmission classification) 4. Persons whose homes meet the criteria for home quarantine.
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 quarantine purposes, a person may not enter or leave except with the general or specific permission of the Quarantine Authority. Under this Act, the police have the duty to enforce compliance. It also states that the police may arrest, without a warrant, any person who he or she has reasonable cause to believe to have committed any offence.
The public is asked to cooperate and encourage family members and friends who have return from overseas and are presently in quarantine to remain at home for the 14-day duration. The names of all persons in home quarantine will be forwarded to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force to support with the enforcement of compliance. The public is advised that they should alert the nearest police station or the Ministry of Health and Wellness at 468-5318/ 468-5342/ 468-5349 with information in relation to anyone who breaches home quarantine guidelines.
Together we can reduce transmission of COVID-19 into our communities.
— (Ministry of Health)