Employees at the Argyle International Airport have sounded an alarm about a suspected COVID-19 case being quarantined there.
On Saturday afternoon, reports reaching Asbert News Network were that a person– was en route to Trinidad and Tobago and caused a LIAT flight to be grounded here after he presented COVID-19 like symptoms.
ANN’s efforts to verify the information through Health Ministry officials are yet to bear fruit though a breaking news bulletin from the Searchlight Newspaper announced, “a team from the Ministry of Health has been dispatched to the Argyle International Airport (AIA) in a response to a COVID-19 situation that has developed relating to a passenger who arrived on LIAT flight 771 from Barbados.
“Searchlight understands that a ‘person of interest’ has been ‘securely isolated’ at the AIA while the matter is investigated. According to information, the ‘person of interest’ boarded LIAT flight 392 in Georgetown Guyana at about 6:20 this morning. That flight arrived in Barbados at about 8:20 a.m., with the ‘person of interest’ continuing on to St. Vincent on board LIAT flight 771, which arrived here shortly after 10a.m.
“That flight usually continues on to Trinidad and Tobago. According to a source, the passengers who were scheduled to travel to Trinidad on that flight are now grounded at the AIA.”
Sources working at one department of the AIA informed Asbert News Network that the 18 passengers who were in transit have been quarantined in the domestic departure lounge while the suspected COVID-19 case has been isolated at the Fire Department of the now 3 years old international air access facility. We’ve also learnt that some 40 plus individuals disembarked from LIAT flight 771 and has since returned to their separate communities across SVG.
According to information received, the Barbados and Trinidad based aviation authorities refused to “accept the flight… no, nobody did! That’s what they’re saying… it’s cargo from LIAT telling them that Trinidad called here and tell them that the person on the flight is sick. I don’t know if it’s true but that’s what they’re saying.”
At least one independent source was able to reliably “confirm via a LIAT contact that Trinidad and Tobago made it clear that the LIAT flight concerned would not be allowed to land there, which was the next scheduled stop.”
Some staff members at the AIA are expressing concerns not only for their personal health safety but for extended family members as well.
“I live with a relative who’s been taking insulin for years and until now I not hearing anything about our safety. No one saying anything at all because if it wasn’t the LIAT supervisor we would not have known anything and there are persons who actually go out to these aircrafts doing access when flights land. And that have us here and paying our own health insurance.”
According to one source, no discernible health screenings are being carried out at the airport as of today.
ANN: Let me ask you, what kind of tests are being done at the airport?
Source: Nothing. That’s what I telling them. I say what’s in place for us? Me can’t afford to be working here and go back home to meet my mother, my mother diabetic and all thing.
ANN: No tests? No medical persons out there doing any sort of temperature checks?
Source: Only the Port Health workers who does normally be here.
ANN: And what are they doing now? They’re not doing any kind of work?
Source: When the flight come they go out and meet them. But I don’t know if it’s them who probably realize the person was not well. I don’t know.
ANN: So when they go out to meet the flight, do they just go out on the apron and say “welcome to Vincy? Do you know?
Source: Well observation. I guess they does, like, in case any passengers was to take sick or whatever.
ANN: So they don’t go out with any kind of medical kits to say, no thermometers no –
Source: .… passengers or so?
ANN: Yes to say take temperatures – for people?
As for the reports that claimed the total closure of the airport, both our source and communications officer at the AIA, Jeronnie Richardson dispelled those rumors.
Richardson however claimed to not have any knowledge of any developments since his shift was just beginning and he was yet to be briefed.
We were told that both the Argyle International Airport CEO and the Operations Manager were “too busy to come to the phone” on the two separate occasions we tried to reach them.
We are also told, though, that the 2 p.m. LIAT shift “called in sick… must be one or two come in, the rest called in sick.”
At least two health professionals – one male And one female – arrived at the Arglye International Airport sometime after 2 p.m. Asbert News Network was reliably informed that “the ground handling manager is who now come through with the port health representatives.”
Meanwhile, the grounded LIAT flight is wreaking havoc on the airline’s schedule; leaving passengers stranded at airports across the route. Sources say the plane is still being sanitized.