By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
SOME San Salvador residents are calling for more restrictive measures to curb COVID-19 spread on the small island after four additional cases were recorded there on Wednesday, pushing the island’s total to six.
Police Superintendent Kenrib Neely, who heads the San Salvador and Rum Cay police division, told The Tribune yesterday that COVID-fears in the community have increased since the island recorded its first case last weekend after months of being virus free.
“Definitely, people have concerns health-wise,” he said.
“Everyone is wondering who the persons are... so there are concerns but we are doing a lot of monitoring of persons, especially those in quarantine.
“We’re trying to enforce law and ensuring that they stay in quarantine for a long time, so that’s why we haven’t had any cases so far until the first of January because we have been taking a proactive approach checking the seaports, the airports coming in just to ensure that persons follow all of the emergency orders and the Ministry of Health protocols.
“But some people are feeling that the island may be locked down shortly because the cases are rising and some are preparing.”
According to the latest COVID-19 Emergency Powers Order, commercial activities on San Salvador are allowed with physical distancing and sanitisation protocols. Social gatherings are also permitted with no more than 20 people.
Residents there can also move about freely as there are no curfew measures currently in place.
One local, who asked to be identified as Ms Smith, told The Tribune she believes more restrictions may be necessary to limit movement and stop further COVID-19 spread.
“I think there can be more restrictive measures like the curfew hours and just having more people stay at home and only going if you have to go. I’ll be happy if there was a lockdown because I’m concerned a bit,” she said.
Another resident, who did not want to be named, added: “It probably needs to be (more restrictions) and I would support anything to keep me from getting the virus. We are following everything that we can to make sure that we stay in good health.”
The Tribune was told the island’s first case had a recent travel history. However, it is not clear whether the other cases are contacts of the first.
Yesterday, Supt Neely said while most locals appear to be following the health regulations, there are a few who have been found in breach of the COVID-19 emergency orders.
He said: “We’ve had a few (breaches) and we’ve dealt with it by law, but there’s no large amount when it comes to breaches. We’ve had one or two incidents where persons came in especially by boat who did the antigen test and said it was the RT-PCR.
“They did a test but did the wrong test when they came so we’re dealing with them. What I find is that they went to the clinic and they chose the cheapest one. The RT-PCR is like $125 and the antigen tests are like $20 and they give us the antigen one not knowing it’s the wrong one.”
“But, we are monitoring the mailboat coming from Nassau, all of the flights, international and domestic just to ensure that passengers have all of the requirements like the RT-PCR tests.”
As of Wednesday, total COVID-19 cases in the country stood at 7,959 after health officials reported 14 new infections. Nine of those cases are located in New Providence, while four are in San Salvador. One case was listed as location pending.
Islands that have yet to record a confirmed case up to press time include Ragged Island, Harbour Island, Spanish Wells, Long Cay, Chub Cay, and Rum Cay, according to health officials.