New details are emerging about the circumstances surrounding a breach of COVID-19 quarantine protocols that landed three British visitors in police custody.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George on Wednesday confirmed that at least two of the delinquent tourists were nabbed at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) as they attempted to leave the country after testing positive for the virus.
As a result, airport employees believed to have been in contact with the guests are under quarantine, pending results from two rounds of COVID-19 testing.
Barbados TODAY understands the two Brits arrived on Sunday afternoon aboard Virgin Atlantic Flight 131 from London Heathrow. One of the visitors tested positive while quarantining at a popular south coast hotel.
Prior to being isolated on Tuesday, the couple reportedly removed the red wristbands identifying them as quarantining guests, boarded a taxi and attempted to leave the country on British Airways Flight 2154. However, they were held by police last night and taken into isolation.
All GAIA workers who came into close contact with the visitors have been quarantined pending the results of their tests, and sections of the airport have been thoroughly sanitised.
When contacted, GAIA’s Chief Executive Officer Hadley Bourne said he was in a meeting and could not address the issues immediately.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Senator Lisa Cummins, when reached, told Barbados TODAY matters of that nature, including contact tracing, were entirely under the remit of officials from the Ministry of Health.
“Certainly, from the Ministry of Tourism’s standpoint, we will not be intervening in any instance where a visitor breaches our protocols. We have no authority to do so and we fully support, making sure that we keep the brand safe,” she declared.
“And I would make an appeal for visitors to Barbados to respect the rules and regulations for COVID and to respect the laws of the land. We have marketed Barbados with a mantra that says ‘safe travel to a safe destination for a safe vacation’, and the only reason we are able to do that is because our public officials have been awake and fully in control of this ship,” Cummins added.
Meantime, President of the G4S Division of the Barbados Workers Union Ormond Mayers expressed concern about instructions given to employees of the security firm who were stationed at GAIA.
He told Barbados TODAY that four G4S officers who came into contact with the visitors were sent to their homes to await COVID-19 testing.
“Rather than putting them in a hotel to await a test, they sent them home to wait for a call to go and get a test. These are people with families, you know. If anything, these people should be in a hotel at the expense of the state, because they were on duty,” Mayers contended.
On Tuesday night, in a press release, the Ministry of Health and Wellness revealed that the Royal Barbados Police Force was holding three tourists.
Pressed for further details on the developments, the acting Chief Medical Officer told Barbados TODAY: “There are three tourists who are of special interest. Two [tourists] are in quarantine and one in police custody. Two were apprehended at the GAIA.”
Source: Kareem Smith @ Barbados Today