BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 11th December 2020)- Superintendent Cromwell Henry has informed that there is an investigation into an incident involving two crew members of a visiting cargo ship who left the vessel and visited a local supermarket which has resulted in them being tested for COVID-19 while a local worker has been placed in quarantine.
He made the disclosure while speaking at the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Briefing on Wednesday 9th December 2020 in appealing to members of the public about always being mindful of taking the health measures seriously.
“On Monday 7th December, a cargo vessel was docked at the deep water port, and as a public health measure, the vessels have been operating under the condition that the crew remains onboard and have no physical contact with persons on the dock just after 7PM that evening, two of the ship’s crew members were intercepted returning to the port in a vehicle being driven by a staff of the ship’s local agent. The relevant authorities were informed and an investigation commenced.”
Superintendent Henry continued: “It was revealed that the men went shopping in a nearby supermarket before returning to the port. Well the driver is presently in quarantine for 14 days and the two crew members were detained and taken to the JNF [General] Hospital for testing.”
He highlighted the importance of following health protocols saying: “This incident is still currently under investigation but I bring it so you would see these are the type of incidents that could occur that could possibly put our people at risk and that is why we continuously ask persons to adhere to all the COVID-19 protocols despite the fact that people resist and ask why do we have to follow them when you have such tight controls at the airport? Well, this is a reason why you have to follow the protocols.”
He spoke about the reasoning behind the continued call by authorities to admonish persons to avoid crowds or crowded places, maintain physical distance of six feet, wear face masks when in public and practice good hand hygiene and sanitization practice habits.
“These are the things that would keep you safe should you come into contact with someone who may be positive. Once you are observing these protocols then more than likely you would be safe,” he commented.
Superintendent Henry’s remarks came in support of the advisory comments made by the Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N. France General Hospital and a member of the COVID-19 National Task Force, Dr. Cameron Wilkinson.
“When our borders opened on the 31st of October this year we knew that there was going to be a great risk of reintroduction of the SARS COVID virus that causes COVID-19, and while we have very strict measures, protocols and procedures in place at our ports of entry, we knew that there was still a significant risk of the virus entering the Federation undetected,” Dr. Wilkinson said.
“One of the things we have is this false sense of security where we hear that we have 25 cases, we assume that those are the only 25 cases but it could be that one or two cases might have slipped in and we did not know and that is why despite the fact that we have no evidence here as yet of community spread, we still need to continue with the non-pharmaceutical measures that we know are effective in controlling the spread of the virus,” he added.
The Federation of St.Kitts and Nevis has recorded 26 cases with three currently active; the latest confirmed case was announced on Wednesday 7th December.