Antigua and Barbuda’s Health Minister Molwyn Joseph has asserted that several protocols were breached, in reports that a private medical practitioner confirmed that four hotel workers had ‘tested positive’ for COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, several protocols were breached – protocols that we observe when we test individuals that are not being observed when private individuals do the tests, in this case this private physician ,” Joseph told local television on Sunday.
He explained that for several months now local officials have taken serious precautions in dealing with the testing of individuals for COVID-19.
According to the Minister, the country’s Ministry of Health has stuck to the gold standard of testing and relies on the guidance of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
“The rapid test we heard that was done today is not a test that is recommended by either WHO or PAHO,” Joseph told ABS Television Sunday night.
He explained that false results can be obtained through rapid testing.
“If, for instance, you get a false negative, it would suggest that individual is free of COVID and that individual could roam the entire society of Antigua & Barbuda and transmit the disease,” the Health Minister warned.
“What should happen really is that rapid tests should be validated by the PCR test that is considered the most accurate,” Joseph observed.
He also spoke of plans to engage the private doctor who is reported to have done the COVID-19 tests on the hotel workers, to make sure that they are “on the same page.”
Local reports said the four resort workers were among 66 people reportedly tested by the private doctor following contact-tracing activities.
Antigua Observer named the doctor as Joseph John of Medical Surgical Associates.
The publication quoted John as saying that the rapid tests provided by his surgery have a high accuracy rate, on par with the PCR machine