8 PERSONS UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR COVID-19
23rd March 2020
A total of eight patients have been sampled for COVID-19 testing on Montserrat over the period Thursday March 19 and Saturday March 21, 2020.
This was reported by the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) today Monday, March 23, 2020.
Director of Primary Health Care, Dr. Dorothea Hazel- Blake stated, “Since the opening of the St. Peter’s “flu clinic” on Thursday 19 March, a total of 33 patients have been assessed at the compound. 21 on Thursday and 12 on Friday. 5 of those patients met the criteria for testing. That is, they were identified as high risk and displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19. Samples were collected from an additional 3 patients as part of the 24- hour COVID-19 Care Service established by the Ministry. All suspected cases are in quarantine while we await the results”.
All eight samples were dispatched to the CARPHA Reference Laboratory on Monday March 23, 2020.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharra Greenaway–Duberry revealed however that future testing may create a challenge as Trinidad & Tobago is closing its borders as of Monday 23rd March.
The eight samples were transported via the Regional Security System (R.S.S) as commercial flights are unavailable. The R. S. S was established in 1982 to counter threats to the national security of the region and provides assistant to Caribbean member states in times of crisis and emergency.
The CMO said, “The unprecedented border closures are creating severe and unexpected challenges, the Ministry is now therefore exploring other options to eliminate them and streamline the diagnostic process; such as building the on island capacity to test.”
In the interim, coordination with the R.S.S will continue to ensure samples are sent for testing.
The Chief Medical Officer also offered an update on the well- being of the island’s first confirmed case. She indicated that the patient remains in isolation and is doing well. She also emphasized the need for the public to continue to adhere to prevention and protection measures.
“Although COVID-19 infections will be mild for most it is important that we protect our vulnerable and those most at risk of severe infection and even death. The highest risk groups include the elderly and persons living with conditions such as asthma and other respiratory ailments, and chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. By practicing good hygiene and social distancing we can drastically decrease the possible rates of infection here in Montserrat,” Dr. Greenaway- Duberry.
A reminder is also issued to the public that all persons experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever, dry cough, sneeze, stuffy and runny nose should contact the St. Peter’s clinic by telephone at the following numbers: 491-5436 or 496- 9724. The clinic is opened daily from 9:00 am to 5:00pm. Outside those hours’ persons can receive medical attention by calling the Glendon Hospital Casualty Department at 491-2802 /491-2836/491-2552.
NEW COVID-19 MEASURES BY GOVERNMENT OF MONTSERRAT
22nd March 2020
Public Gatherings Restricted to 25 persons and 14-Day quarantine period for anyone travelling to Montserrat
March 21, 2020 GIU, Davy Hill Montserrat– The Government of Montserrat continues to implement measures to protect public health and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Joseph E. Farrell, speaking at a press conference on Thursday March 19, announced several additional measures agreed to in Cabinet on March 18, 2020.
“On March 18, Cabinet reconvened and decided the following additional measures: the further restriction of public gatherings from 50 to 25; a 14 day quarantine period for any one travelling to Montserrat; a reiterated prohibition of visits to public and private homes of the elderly; the self-quarantine of elderly persons aged 70 and over with the provision for family and community members and Health authorities to provide support where necessary; and guidance that everyone adheres to ongoing Public Health Advice and precautions around social distancing and personal hygiene,” stated the honourable Premier.
Premier Farrell also reassured the public that Ministers, Health authorities, Public Service, along with other key stakeholders and himself are “actively monitoring the situation and will continue to make decisions on future adjustments based on risk-assessments.”
Prior to Premier Farrell’s March 19 announcement, the Cabinet on March 14 announced the decision to close schools until April 3, 2020 and to restrict public gatherings in excess of 50 persons.
On March 17, Montserrat confirmed its first COVID-19 case.
The public is encouraged to remain vigilant and to follow the advice from the officials, including the need to take personal actions to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.
Let’s Contain COVID19 Together!
GOVERNMENT MEETS WITH BUSINESS COMMUNITY TO DISCUSS COVID-19
22nd March 2020
Government of Montserrat officials held a meeting today (Friday March 20, 2020) with members of the business community to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the private sector.
Premier- Hon. Joseph E. Farrell; Deputy Premier – Dr. the Honourable Samuel Joseph; Permanent Secretary Daphne Cassell and Financial Secretary, Hon. Colin Owen were present at the meeting along with other senior managers within the public sector. The purpose of the meeting was to hear the concerns of the business community as it relates to COVID-19.
The information shared will be used to inform decisions to be made by the Government of Montserrat.
Members of the Small Business Association, executive of the Chamber of Commerce, Social Security, Labour Department, and senior management of the financial institutions were in attendance.
COVID-19 STATEMENT BY PREMIER – HON. JOSEPH FARRELL
19th March 2020
My fellow Montserratians, residents, visitors and members of the Press.
As promised in my last statement to you, I will endeavor to update you on my Government’s actions as we work through this COVID-19 pandemic together.
By way of update, we are all aware that Montserrat has one confirmed case of COVID-19. As a result, the Government of Montserrat has shifted focus from prevention to one of detection and containment in order to prevent or minimize community transmission and spread of the disease.
The announcement of Montserrat’s first case might have caused some anxiety and that is a natural response. After all, we are dealing with many uncertainties where this virus is concerned. Therefore, I will continue to update you as to what my Government is doing.
The commitment from the UK Government to Montserrat remains strong and as stated by Baroness Sugg, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Office and DFID, the Overseas Territories is very much their priority.
In recognizing our unique situation of being both a British Overseas Territory and full members of OECS and CARICOM, the Government continues to work in an inclusive and comprehensive manner to avoid unintended duplication of efforts and resources. To this end, we are in constant communication with the United Kingdom Government and Public Health UK as well as regional partners including OECS, CARICOM, CARPHA, ECCB, so that we can continue to take the appropriate steps to minimize the threat of the virus to the country and reduce risk to citizens, residents and visitors.
Given the fluid situation around COVID-19, also, Government is in continuous dialogue with local stakeholders with the intention of further improving the COVID-19 response plan. This includes the social, economic and fiscal arrangements for dealing with this global pandemic.
Support from the UK and Regional partners include the following:
– further medical equipment and supplies (ventilators, the COVID-19 testing capability, PPE, among others);
– additional medical personnel; and
– technical advice and support for detecting, managing and containing infectious diseases and COVID-19
To provide a timeline, as Premier and Minister of Finance, I authorized the Ministry of Finance in January 2020 to immediately release funds to the Ministry of Health for the purchase of medical equipment, protective clothing and supplies in preparation for any impending COVID-19 cases as Phase I of our preparation.
Cabinet then took the early decision to invoke the Public Health Act in order to legislate the appointment of the Chief Medical Officer as Quarantine Officer.
Following that, Cabinet requested the Governor to summon a meeting of the National Advisory Council given the importation of cases within the region and the subsequent announcement of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.
We then learnt of the unfortunate British Airways 2157 flight which included 104 passengers for Montserrat and the positive COVID-19 case of an Antiguan national coming off the flight. In order to protect citizens, residents and visitors of Montserrat, Cabinet took the immediate decision to increase measures to detect and contain any potential threat to the island.
Measures included the ramping of surveillance and screening at our borders; the requirement for persons on the BA flight to report immediately to the Ministry of Health and for them and their households to remain in quarantine; closure of schools until 3rd April 2020; and the restriction of public gatherings to no more than 50 persons.
Yesterday, 18th March, Cabinet reconvened and decided the following additional measures:
– the further restriction of public gatherings from 50 to 25;
– a 14 day quarantine period for any one travelling to Montserrat;
– a reiterated prohibition of visits to public and private homes of the elderly;
– the self-isolation of elderly persons aged 70 and over with the provision for family and community members and Health authorities to provide support where necessary; and
– guidance that everyone adheres to ongoing Public Health Advice and precautions around social distancing and personal hygiene.
I want to close by reassuring the Montserrat public that your Premier, Ministers, Health Authorities, Public Service and other key stakeholders are actively monitoring the situation and will continue to make decisions on future adjustments based on risk assessments.
However, whilst we continue to do all in our power to keep you safe and healthy, we also need everyone to play their part to prevent, detect, manage, and contain the spread of this deadly disease known as COVID-19 within our community.
CHANGES TO FERRY SERVICE FOR MARCH 20 & MARCH 24
19th March 2020
The general public is advised that there will only be a 06:00 am ferry departure tomorrow (Friday March 20) from Little Bay. There will be no afternoon service tomorrow (March 20, 2020).
Customers who were hoping to depart in the afternoon are asked to take the 06:00 am service. For customers who are not booked on this service (6:00a.m.) the Ferry Agent will be able to transfer your ticket without charge in the morning when you arrive at the terminal. The service is not currently full which will allow quite a number of additional persons to get on.
Customers who are hoping to depart early for international flights please make sure you have a confirmed booking with your international carrier.
Once again, The Ferry service will depart Montserrat tomorrow Friday March 20, 2020 at 06:00am to Antigua and return in the evening departing Antigua at 19:00p.m. The same will apply for Tuesday 24th March.
The ferry schedule can be viewed at www.ferry.ms. Regular updates will be displayed from all media platforms.