Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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Be our eyes and ears

A watchful community, as was the case when two crew members from a yacht illegally entered Grenada on Monday, is the only way community spread of COVID-19 can be avoided. “Marine arrivals can occur on several points of the islands” even though only two locations are approved, according to Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Shawn Charles.

The approved entry ports for yachts are Tyrrel Bay in Carriacou and The Yacht Club in Saint George’s off Panday Beach. A yacht from South America attempted to enter Grenada at Saint David’s Bay, where Grenada Marine Services is located. The incident is under investigation, although Dr Charles said the facts indicate it was a “misunderstanding by the crew.”

“If it is proven otherwise, the appropriate remedies would be given,” he indicated.

“In an attempt to correct that situation, they were advised that this was not the proper procedure. In exiting the marina, they encountered some difficulty and needed some assistance,” Charles explained. As a result of local residents responding to help the stranded yacht, eight people were exposed to the crew and are now in quarantine under observation until all members of the crew are tested for COVID-19.

 “So, what we are asking the public is to be our eyes and our ears because, as community spread becomes established in neighbouring countries, the potential for individuals coming in to Grenada at a site that is not a designated port, persons who may be potentially infected and infectious will increase,” he told reporters at Tuesday’s post Cabinet press briefing. Acknowledging that it would be virtually impossible for the Ministry of Health and the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) Coast Guard to police every single coastline, the Acting Chief Medical Officer called on the public to be watchful and report any questionable marine activities.

“This is the only way we will be assured that we will all be protected,” he warned.

Health clearance for yachts entering the two approved marinas includes quarantine and PCR testing before the vessel is allowed to proceed to other marinas or their final destination. The Ministry of Health has enhanced surveillance at all ports of entry. Protocols for persons working on cargo vessels are only allowed to load or unload items and must have a negative PCR test before they are permitted to go home.

“They must quarantine and have a negative test before being allowed in to the community.” he noted, adding that similar protocols are enforced in neighbouring islands.

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