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ASC student confirmed as new domestic COVID case, while national returning without test is identified as ‘imported’

As the country confirms another two cases of the COVID-19 virus, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rhonda Sealy-Thomas is calling for vigilance in the workplace.

One infection was apparently imported, since those cases have moved to 72 on the dashboard, while the domestic cases have gone up to 52.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Gaston Browne reported that the imported case is a returning national, who entered the country without the required COVID-19 test being taken prior to travel.

Browne claims that local authorities have written to the various airlines, asking them not to accept any passenger without a negative test result.  Therefore, he says he is at a loss to understand how “that individual made it on the flight.”  

The domestic case, meanwhile, is one of the four Antigua State College students who had displayed symptoms of the virus.  Last week, the Department of Business was closed as a precaution, and studies moved to an online platform, while results on the students were pending.

Speaking at a recent press conference, Dr. Sealy-Thomas says the last set of reported cases was picked up during contact tracing. She says that Health officials had to track more than 100 people, which she describes as quite extensive.

The more recent cases have highlighted some concerns for the Ministry of Health, particularly in terms of protocols being followed in the workplace and the congregation of staff in offices. 

According to what she has learned, Dr. Sealy-Thomas says that persons who do not work at a particular office are just dropping by for visits.  She says the Ministry’s contact tracing has not only led officers to employees in that department, but to persons who have no affiliation at all with the office.

As a consequence, the CMO is cautioning against this practice of casual visits.  Only those persons who are employed at a business – whether Government or private – are to be  there during the course of the work day, she cautions.  

Meanwhile, Dr. Sealy-Thomas says that more women than men have contracted the COVID-19 virus here. On Friday, the numbers were 65 females and 57 males.  

Those numbers would have changed with these two most recent cases, which bring the total confirmations to 124, with active cases now up from 12 to 13.

The dashboard reveals that there are 264 persons in self-quarantine, while there are 18 in a government-run facility.

Dr. Sealy-Thomas is warning of a possible increase in infections during the colder months and when the tourist season begins.

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