The Grenada government has confirmed that a chartered aircraft with a number of Chinese businesspeople had been turned away from the island after two of the passengers on board had recently visited China and Singapore where the majority of the deaths associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) had been recorded.
“Grenada still has a travel restriction in place for anyone who has travelled there and so we had to act accordingly,” said Health Minister Nicholas Steele, adding that the aircraft had landed at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA).
He did not give the date of the arrival but said that the plane carried seven passengers who made a stop in Cape Verde before arriving here.
“We are also on high alert in Grenada and the rest of the region and that also required us to be provided with additional information about the passengers when submitting manifest requirements and what we received guided us in making the decision to have them not disembark,” he added.
Flight continued to Barbados
The flight with its passengers continued on to Barbados which currently has no travel restrictions in place for the COVID-19 but provide screening for high temperature and other symptoms of all arriving passengers.
This is the third chartered flight with Chinese businesspeople to arrive in Grenada since the coronavirus became a global health concern.
The passengers of the first two flights were allowed to disembark because they were not considered a health risk. The first came from Beijing and the second from Panama. It is not clear if they are on China state business with state officials or private sector representatives in the region.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called for a national plan of action to deal with the virus.
Island on “Importation Transmission Watch”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health (MOH) says while Grenada has no recorded case of the virus for which there is no known cure and blamed for nearly 3,000 deaths worldwide, the island is now “on what is referred to as Importation Transmission Watch (ITW).
“These include assessing exposure to risks, monitoring events in the region, and providing pre-travel training. Pre-trip risk assessment, education and preparation can markedly reduce the likelihood of an incident disrupting normal everyday life, trade and travel. One person while on a holiday/leisure or business trip can result in the risk of transmission by virtue of contact importation,” the MOH said in a statement.
It said that apart from mainland China, these include Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Italy.
Health Authorities are also advising people to avoid non-essential travel to these areas, and are reminding those who choose to do so that on their return, they can be quarantined for a maximum of 14 days.
“The MOH advises people who develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of visiting the above-listed countries, to contact their family doctor and the Health authorities,” the statement said.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell is due to address the nation later on Tuesday.