Sunday 29 November, 2020

Second COVID test for visitors not needed - CMO

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sharon Belmar George

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sharon Belmar George

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sharon Belmar George says a second COVID-19 test is not needed for visitors traveling to the island, despite the unprecedented increase in cases locally.

“For us, we prefer to stick to the 14 days, which is the incubation period, and keep our strict protocols within the sector.

We have allowed some sites and attractions through a very structured and scheduled way, so the need to put in that measure has not been a part of our policy and to date, it seems to be working, we have not had outbreaks from guests in the accommodation sector so we don’t see the need to change it at this point,” Dr Belmar said.

As it stands, visitors arriving in Saint Lucia, including high-risk countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, must present a negative PCR test ahead of their arrival on the island.

Additionally, visitors undergo further screening at the port of entry before departing to their COVID-19 certified resort, where they are expected to mostly stay on property for the duration of their stay.

Recently, travelers desperate to cross borders began purchasing fake COVID-19 test results or falsifying their own in an attempt to bypass regulations.

Because of this, Barbados took a decision to administer a second COVID-19 test to visitors days after their arrival, the results of which saw an increase in positive cases among visitors.

To date, Saint Lucia has confirmed 183 cases of the virus and according to Health Officials, a higher infection rate of the virus was detected among returning nationals.

“We started having cases when we started having the repatriation and the testing of persons at the quarantine facilities then this dropped.

In July we had the opening of the ports and up to October, November is not finished as yet; highest cases recorded in October,” Surveillance Officer at the Ministry of Health, Dana Gomez explained.

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