COVID-19: Lucians, call police with information on quarantine escapees
Acting Police Commissioner Milton Desir
The Royal St Lucia Police Force is seeking the public's assistance in apprehending escapees from quarantine who recently arrived from Martinique.
Acting Police Commissioner Milton Desir has made a statement on the St Lucian nationals who escaped from quarantine at the Rodney Bay Public Health Facility.
"We have received reports that some of the persons are misbehaving, some of the persons are even escaping. It is an offence to leave a place of quarantine without authority... the time permitted is 14 days. This escape is unlawful and also persons who may harbor these individuals. These individuals were placed under quarantine for safety and in fact to prevent if any the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
"We are urging persons to call the police if they are aware or if any of the persons who travelled from Martinique yesterday are at their location."
Persons can call 999 or their nearest police station.
A viral video capturing a man jumping a fence at the quarantine site and being thrown his luggage has been in circulation. It has been reported that police are seeking two escapees.
In a St Lucian Ministry of Health release, it was said that: "On Friday, March 20, 2020, 95 nationals from Martinique arrived into Saint Lucia. Their arrival was coordinated with Consul General Ms Joanna Salton who is presently in Martinique. All of the passengers were briefed from Martinique, as a result, 40 passengers opted to remain in Martinique to avoid being quarantined.
"On their arrival at the ports, they were transported to the quarantine site at the Rodney Bay Public Health Facility. The passengers were very agitated as they did not want to be quarantined and requested to go home. The Royal St Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) provided the necessary support and some were settled in very late into their rooms.
"Special provision was put in place for the elderly, pregnant women and those with small children. Quarantine conditions include single room boarding except in the case of families and couples who are allowed to board together.
"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."
Quarantine centers have been set up using various hotels to facilitate the large numbers of returning nationals and any non-nationals that may arrive, who are of concern. All persons in quarantine are provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
As of March 21, 2020, Saint Lucia has a total of 2 confirmed cases. The results received on Friday, March 20, 2020, for 11 patients were all negative.
The public is reminded to focus on the maintenance of standard recommendations to prevent the spread of infection. These include:
- regular handwashing with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer where soap and water is not available.
- cover mouth and nose with disposable tissues or clothing when coughing and sneezing.
- avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
- seek medical attention and share your travel history with your health care provider if you have symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel.
We continue to advise on social distancing as an effective strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
For more information please contact the Office of the Chief Medical Officer or the Epidemiology Unit, at 468-5309/468-5317 respectively.