Saturday, February 22, 2020

Saint Lucia Officials ‘Elated’ Over Negative Coronavirus Result

Saint Lucia medical officials are elated over the fact that a Russian national who arrived here this week has tested negative for the coronavirus.

Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Sharon Belmar-George made the disclosure Wednesday night during the DBS Television programme – Newsmaker Live.

Chief Medical Officer Doctor Sharon Belmar-George
Doctor Sharon Belmar-George

Belmar-George said until the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARRPHA) disclosed the negative result shortly before she appeared on the programme, there was a level of anxiety among her medical team.

“Our team is quite elated that it is negative, so we can clearly say that we do not have any suspected or any case of coronavirus,” she said.

The Chief Medical Officer explained that the sample taken from the Russian male was sent to the Trinidad and Tobago based CARPHA in record time, after National Security Minister Hermangild Francis contacted the Regional Security System (RSS).

She told Newsmaker Live that the ‘regular’ way of sending samples is through courier.

“We rely on the LIAT courier system,” she stated.

Belmar-George said that the suspected case of coronavirus arrived here from Martinique aboard a yacht.

“He came with his partner and there were ten other persons on the yacht, but the other persons did not have a travel history of significance and they were clinically fine. So they have since left the Island after our review,” she said.

According to the Chief Medical Officer, the Russian national suspected of having had coronavirus had been in China.

“Our Immigration and Customs Officers did what they had to do according to the travel ban, because a travel ban indicates 14 days of having been in China. This foreign national was actually in China 15 days, so it was one day out of the incubation period for the disease,” Belmar-George disclosed.

The Chief Medical Officer said the Russian left Martinique quite sick.

“In terms of our travel ban, when Customs and Immigration would have gone through his documents, it was fifteen days since he was in China so he would have been allowed to come into the Island but based on the start of his signs and symptoms, it was of concern to us that he would fit a case of interest to us.”

The visitor was put in quarantine when he arrived here on Tuesday with little risk to health care workers and other clients, it was disclosed.

Belmar-George said he is  currently stable at the Victoria Hospital and in good health.


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