Reports reaching Asbert News Network claim that a male passenger was removed from a Grenadine ferry sometime on Saturday morning. This passenger is said to have absconded from COVID-19 quarantine restrictions automatically activated since his recent travel from Canada.
We were told this passenger boarded the vessel at Union Island but his intra-island travel plans were thwarted as other travelers onboard the ferry alerted the ship’s captain. Although that vessel’s captain told ANN that he was not directly involved nor was he on the scene, he also said “I don’t know what went on. Two police officers take off a guy in Canouan is all I heard .”
Due to his stationed post “upstairs” the ferry, the captain declined specific knowledge as to the number of persons who travelled up from Union Island. He however noted that their operational protocols meant that the ship was being cleaned at its berth at port Kingstown, seeing that the passengers already disembarked.
One source on Canouan informed us from her residential vantage point “above the clinic.” She said, “I looked down and I saw police in masks and this man at the clinic in a mask as well, what I am saying is, because they put him in the quarantine pod here, my fear is that boat that went up there with them umpteen of people should be quarantined” .
A recent release from the Ministry of Health announced that some 31 COVID-19 tests were conducted to date with only one positive result confirmed here. That positive case, described as a mild occurrence of the infection, the patient is said to now test negative for the sometimes fatal virus.
Reports also claim that the SVG Coast Guard service was engaged but they explicitly refused to deploy since “they don’t have the necessary protection.”
Our attempts to verify the COVID-19 readiness of SVG’s premier line of sea based defenders were stonewalled. From the Petty Officer at the Canouan Sub-base to Mr. Francis (of undisclosed rank) at headquarters in Calliaqua, the response was deferred to more senior, though unreachable, commanders.
Meanwhile Chief Medical Officer Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache told us, “there is no suspect case (specific definition) in Union or Canouan that I am aware of.”
ANN pressed her further as our attempt to verify through the Canouan Health Centre was deferred to SVG’s Medical Officer Dr. Roger Duncan, who was unavailable.
That person, who answered the Canouan Health Centre’s number, admitted without acknowledging to knowing the information we wanted confirmed – a questioned never fully phrased. From that phone call we were also able to garner that the nurse was at work under “unusual circumstances as the clinic is normally closed on Saturdays.”
We asked the CMO whether she’d been briefed on the developments as laid out and what protocols should ferry services employ were they to be engaged in the management of a potential COVID-19 case. Dr. Kiezer-Beache’s response was to share, “for your guidance,” the World Health Organisation’s “operational considerations for managing COVID-19 cases/outbreak on board ships.”
A quick perusal of that document begs the question, ‘do local ships have any element of the international voyage centered outbreaks management plan?’ It includes protocols for disembarkation of suspected cases as well as measures for isolation, isolated case(s) waste management and contact management guidelines.
CMO Keizer-Beache also told us, “Again, there is no reported case of a person suspected of having COVID-19 on any vessel.”
Other reports reaching Asbert News Network have since claimed that power brokers on Canouan evicted the quarantine run-away back to Union Island via a privately owned water craft.