St Vincent hints at suspending flights from United States


KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, CMC – The St Vincent and the Grenadines government has hinted at the possibility of suspending flights from the United States after the island recorded 12 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) after reopening its borders to international flights.

The authorities said that of the 12 cases associated with the American Airlines (AA) flight 945, which brought 155 persons on July 11, only one patient was not a passenger on the flight.

Another AA flight, also from Miami, arrived last Saturday and health officials said that four cases of COVID-19 were detected among the passengers.

The National Emergency Management Organisation said on Sunday night there were 21 active cases of the respiratory illness in the country.

“What has happened is this: in the United States of America, and particularly in Florida and other places, there is a big flare-up [of COVID-19] and we tightened the protocols on the second flight and we are tightening the protocols on the third flight.

“I want to say this: if persons who are coming home do not follow these protocols, apart from we going to Parliament and putting, as an alternative, the question of the ticketing to have you fined then and there for breaking the quarantine, I want to say this: if persons who return choose not to pay attention to the quarantine, you may push the government to suspending the flights from the United States of America until things improve there,” Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said on a radio programme.

He said as of Saturday, July 25, “the protocol is going to be strengthened so I want everybody to have real advanced notice.

“The chief medical officer has sent me already, she had discussed with me, and she is saying all the passengers must arrive with a negative COVID PCR test result,” Gonsalves said, adding “they must arrive with a proof of reservation in an approved hotel by the Ministry of Health for five nights”.

He told listeners that passengers will be tested for COVID-19 before they are released from the Ministry of Health-approved hotel and that their quarantine will continue for nine to 16 days at an approved home or government-approved facility after the five nights in a hotel.

“The importance of strict compliance to all isolation and quarantine orders is paramount because it is only by complying with these orders and the use of masks in public places that the spread of COVD-19 can be controlled in St Vincent and the Grenadines.”

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