The 110 Barbadians who returned home on the latest repatriation flight out of the United States today were swabbed for COVID-19 immediately on disembarkation at the Grantley Adams International Airport.
The new testing site at the airport eliminated much of the wait period which passengers arriving from the United Kingdom last week complained about, since on arrival, they were then transported to the Paragon quarantine facility to be tested there.
In response to the complaints, Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic, explained that his Ministry took immediate action.
He was speaking to the media after meeting the arriving passengers and observing the operations of the new testing site.
Minister Bostic shared: “People complained about the delay last week and we agreed. This is a dry run for us, and so we met earlier this week with the authorities at the airport to be able to see how best we could facilitate such an operation, which is to get these persons from here into a quarantine facility.”
He said the decision was taken to establish a swabbing centre at the airport, so that arriving passengers, once swabbed, could immediately proceed to the quarantine centres established at Paragon and the St. Lucy District Hospital, where they will remain for 14 days.
He said that a number of hotels had also partnered with Government to quarantine persons who select that option at their own expense.
Minister Bostic revealed that there were 13 persons on today’s flight who were granted permission to quarantine at home.
He said that decision was made on a case-by-case basis, and, in most instances, had to do with medical requests by persons who had travelled abroad for major surgery. Exemptions were also made for mothers with very young children since the quarantine facilities were not adequate for these persons.
He emphasized that in all cases, the Ministry examined the homes to make sure that they met the requirements for quarantine.
Persons are also monitored daily to ensure they are compliant in respect of staying at home and to make sure that they are not showing any symptoms of the viral illness.
The next repatriation flight is expected next week, bringing home Barbadian students from the University of the West Indies who have been stranded at campuses in Trinidad and Jamaica.