By Ashecia Sam. Updated 5:20 a.m., Sunday, 5 April 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4)
Kingstown (ON SVG) – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said on Friday the government is looking to provide a new facility to quarantine two categories of people as it relates to Covid-19.
“We have a new facility in addition to the existing one we are doing quarantine in and am not telling you where the first facility is”, Dr Gonsalves said.
The Prime Minister said “apparently there are some people who want me to say where the facility is . The way some people behaving that if I say where the facility is, they will go there and look and want to maybe burn people at the stake like how they did witches in the middle ages. We can’t function like that.”
Dr. Gonsalves said they are also looking at another facility with about 40 rooms . “I am not going to say where that facility is either and if you are to find out, I hope that you would have the responsibility not to publish it or broadcast it”, he told reporters.
He said the idea of this facility is to put people who exhibit symptoms of Covid-19. He said this facility is not like the other one where people who didn’t show symptoms were kept. This one is for people who have symptoms, he said.
Dr. Gonsalves said, “if in fact it happens before the isolation facility is up it is for anybody who’d be adjudged to go into isolation”.
Gonsalves said “the CMO (referring to the Chief Medical Officer) was clear in delineating the persons to go in this one, so that’s the first category.”
The second category of people to be kept in the facility are “some persons who have contumelious disregard of the quarantine”, Dr. Gonsalves said. This is just a minority of persons, he added.
“If persons like those break the quarantine and the occasion arises where you have to take them to the court and there is ample provision to take them to the court because they would have either been under a quarantine which they themselves agreed to or a court quarantine already that the court will have an additional option as to where to send such persons”, the Prime Minister said.
Gonsalves said as of Thursday evening, there were 427 people in quarantine. “You and I know that it is likely that that number could rise”, he said.
Dr. Gonsalves said the practicality of putting everybody who is under quarantine in a particular facility is not realistic. “I don’t know any country in the Caribbean where that is taking place whether it is Jamaica, Trinidad, where ever”, he said.
He added that there is a criteria of people who will go under quarantine and criteria of people who will go in isolation and the government is currently building the isolation unit.
Gonsalves said “so, we have to be careful with facile answers, some of them well meaning but some of the persons would advance them for whatever agenda. There are several agendas about the place . I have one agenda , St.Vincent and the Grenadines, the four dimensions of this monumental challenge, health, economic, social and security and they are all interrelated, here in this country and across the region and internationally.
The Prime Minister said Minister of Finance, Hon. Camillo Gonsalves will liaise with individuals in relation to the financial arrangements for the 40 room facility.