Some unfortunate news broke just at the time when Grenada was preparing to celebrate what we hoped to be another Olympic gold and people are being called out to a national Jab Jab protest. A Statement on COVID-19 by Dr Shawn Charles, the Acting Chief Medical Officer revealed that the Ministry of Health is currently engaged in intense contact tracing efforts following the country’s latest COVID-19 case, which was recorded on August 03, as a departing passenger engaged in the required testing for travel.
The young lady who arrived in Grenada on Monday, July 26, from the United States was not a confirmed case on her arrival in the country, but on her departure she was tested positive. Another puzzling note is that she was also fully vaccinated. It is now a worrying issue that after having been released from quarantine on July 27, she visited a total of 10 locations between July 28 and August 03. The Ministry of Health in recording her as case #170 has embarked on contact tracing and up to press time Thursday, the Ministry identified 53 potential contacts who have all been tested thus far. This brings to mind that the COVID-19 pandemic is a very fluid situation that requires constant vigilance.
In light of this latest development, this newspaper joins the Ministry of Health in encouraging the population to exercise extreme caution and to continue to observe the recommended protocols – physical distance, avoiding mass gatherings, wearing masks in public spaces, regular washing or sanitisation of hands.
We have seen what has happened in other countries and how rapidly the situation can change when the virus is present, oftentimes forcing countries to take stringent measures to protect the population as is the case in Dominica. The Delta variant deemed to be far more contagious and deadly, has not yet been identified in Grenada to date; but it is known to be present in locations from where we receive visitors. This additional case should create tremendous cause for concern from all and sundry even the Jab Jabs.
The police have also added its voice in the call for discretion and good judgements this weekend and the days to come as we balance the need for socialization against that of protection from the COVID virus. Supt Vannie Curwen said that it would be foolhardy of him not to expect that some activities, most likely spurred on by Kirani James’ result in the Olympics, will take place. He said that he understands that human beings are social creatures and there will be the natural inclination to have activities; but he is advising people to be consistent with the rules set by the Ministry of Health.
In reference to Carnival activities which are curtailed again this year, the Officer wants people to understand the reasoning behind the decision. He said that it is not just government and the police trying to stop people from having fun; but Grenada will be playing with fire in terms of the spread of the virus if we refuse to obey the rules. While he said that the police are not enjoying having to ticket people in some cases from $350 and upwards, if it has to be done, it will be done because it is necessary at this particular time. So people who are planning to break out in a frenzy should bear this in mind.
The officer also reminded us that people have been caught entering Grenada illegally and expressed his concern of them interacting with us before being identified. Since we do not know their COVID status we should all be concerned as they may be part of the jump-up and Jab Jab we are planning to play. We would never know what they will be unleashing on our population that is why it is important to be mindful of the fact that we are still in a pandemic and we still need to have regards for the physical distancing in place. The warning is to stay away from crowds that exceed 20 people as stipulated by the protocols. All of us have individual responsibilities to keep ourselves safe from even the violent behavior we have been seeing with weapons. Once the drums start beating and the alcohol start selling, the crowds will come out in a frenzy singing whatever comes to mind. If the event is to celebrate Kirani’s medal, shouldn’t this call for some respect and dignity?
We are aware that the onset of the new COVID virus saw loss of jobs which have brought on a measure of frustration but as Grenadians we are “born to survive” and so we shall all endeavor to weather this storm successfully.
Again we urge caution since we cannot escape the fact that the virus is present and we need to keep our guards up at all times!