Friday 4 December, 2020

Home quarantine breaches may result in arrests in St Lucia

Chief Medical Officer Dr Sharon Belmar-George

Chief Medical Officer Dr Sharon Belmar-George

St Lucia is pivoting to a harsher response to those who breach home quarantine protocols due to a lack of adherence by many over the past few months, including the possibility of arrests for breaches. 

The Ministry of Health spoke on the matter today (July 29) saying:

"Over the last few months, people who have been granted home quarantine have not been adhering to the protocols of home quarantine. All persons on home quarantine are required to stay indoors for 14 days. As such, further restrictions on home quarantine have been instituted with immediate effect. Anyone found in breach of home quarantine will be immediately taken to government quarantine to complete the time."

The release said that under the Quarantine Act, Chapter 11.16 Act 13 of 1945 revised 31 December, 2001, "police officers have the duty to enforce compliance, it also states that they may arrest without a warrant any person whom he or she has reasonable cause to believe to have committed any offence."

The Health Ministry said that the "public is asked to cooperate and encourage family members and friends who have returned from overseas and are presently in quarantine to remain at home for the 14 day duration. The names of all persons in home quarantine are forwarded to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force RSLPF to assist with compliance. The public is advised to alert the nearest police station or the Ministry of Health and Wellness at 468-5318/ 468-5349 with information in relation to anyone who breaches home quarantine guidelines."

The release also provided general information on the quarantine situation on island: " Quarantine centres have been set up in Saint Lucia using various hotels to facilitate the large numbers of returning nationals and any non-nationals that may arrive of concern. This has proved to be an important measure in containing COVID-19 on island and failure to adhere can have serious implications for disease containment.

Quarantine is necessary for persons who are well and may have been exposed to a communicable disease. It applies to people who may or may not become sick. It restricts the movement of healthy people who may develop a disease after possible exposure to an infectious agent. It requires people to stay in a designated location for a specific period of time. Active monitoring including temperature checks and checking for respiratory symptoms is done.

The main policy for passengers returning into Saint Lucia outside of the Caribbean Bubble is Institutional Quarantine. After assessments, some passengers qualify for home quarantine if they meet certain conditions and their home meets the criteria.

1. Minors (younger than 18 years) and families with young children.

2. Individuals with underlying medical conditions or disabilities.

3. Persons coming from low-risk areas (as defined by WHO transmission classification above)"

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