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Three more imported virus cases reported amidst CMO’s concerns about home tests taken by UK visitors

Three new COVID-19 infections have been reported by the Mount St. John Medical Centre Lab, bringing the country’s confirmed cases to 127 in total.

The latest announcement follows Cabinet  declaration, on Thursday, that “no new cases of infection have been reported in the last 48 hours.”

Yesterday’s Cabinet Notes say the previous three infections arose out of “clusters … from quarantined and isolated persons disobeying the terms of their 14-day confinement.”  

While the origin of these new cases has not been officially identified, they appear to be imported infections, since this category on the dashboard has increased by three.

On Thursday, Information Minister Melford Nicholas reported that the Chief Medical Officer and Quarantine Authority, Dr. Rhonda Sealy Thomas, had expressed reservations about arrivals from the United Kingdom (UK).

Virgin Atlantic resumed flights into the country earlier this week and, reportedly, passengers are presenting the local Health authorities with negative results obtained from COVID-19 home-testing kits.  

Dr. Sealy-Thomas is said to be concerned that these do not meet the high standards of lab tests, and reportedly has recommended that such results not be accepted.

As British Airways is reported to be resuming flights here shortly,Nicholas said Cabinet is weighing the economic implications of fewer British arrivals against the risk of importing cases of the virus from the hard-hit UK.

In an earlier promotion to UK travel agents, Tourism Authority officials promised that visitors could be on the beach in about an hour after arrival at the airport.

But while the State of Emergency is in effect, all beaches are closed to residents on public holidays, including this Monday, November 2.  However, it remains to be seen whether the ban on beach use will be imposed on visitors staying in hotels.

There was public outcry in August when locals were explicitly warned from the beaches while photos showed tourists enjoying the sand and sea. 

In the meantime, the Cabinet Notes claim the Coast Guard is being activated to prevent parties from being held on the offshore islands, as reportedly has been the practice for months now.  

Recent photos and videos taken on the out-islands show dozens of persons socializing without masks, as locals have apparently found a way around the ban on beach picnics.  

Some people have defended the practice, saying the risk is minimal and that residents must have their social needs met, while others have accused the Government and Police of double standards.

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