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New Covid-19 cases were not wearing GPS trackers

A doctor and his wife who are Grenada’s latest COVID-19 cases are claiming that they were given the all clear by the Ministry of Health and later told that they had actually tested positive.

This was told to THE NEW TODAY by a well-placed source who is close to the couple who are now in quarantine at a government-run facility.

According to a release from the Ministry of Health, the couple arrived from the U.S last week Sunday (November 1) went into home quarantine and during the days before their results were available they left their home and visited four restaurant facilities in the south of the Island.

However, an individual close to the couple said they did not breach quarantine and had been medically cleared by Ministry of Health officials and that’s why they left their home and then later told the first results were wrong.

Early Monday, Health Minister Nickolas Steele told THE NEW TODAY that this is not true but he did not elaborate.

The couple, 65 and 53 years old, brings Grenada total number of confirmed cases since March to 32.

The Ministry claims that the results showing positive tests were given to the couple on Thursday, however they did not go public with the information for four days.

The company which is contracted by the Ministry of Health to provide electronic monitoring of people in home quarantine said the couple was not wearing geo-fence watches, the GPS tracking device which is supposed to be mandatory for anyone who qualifies to self-quarantine at home.

“They never received one of our devices. If they had we would have been able to track them immediately,” a CITI official said.

The company is run by small businessman, Siddiqi Sylvester, an expelled member of Congress who is now associated with the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

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The geo-fence watches have also had their own set of problems and the monitoring system has been unreliable.

Many people who paid for watches are complaining of serious malfunctions and recently CITI admitted that the watches are not waterproof as advertised by the Ministry of Health and on the product packing.

The latest situation further points to major problems with Grenada’s COVID-19 monitoring abilities.

If the system worked as designed on paper the couple ought not to have been released to home quarantine without monitoring devices.

Whether they were allowed to leave the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) without all the necessary precautions, including electronic trackers and why they may have been exempted, is still unclear.

The Ministry of Health has also hired people to conduct on-site patrols to homes where people are in home quarantine and if the Ministry of Health’s version of events is accurate then it means that for several days this monitoring did not happen.

If in fact there were two different test results then that raises questions about Grenada’s laboratory tests and the handling of results and whether the couple received results intended for someone else.

“The Royal Grenada Police Force was notified of the violation, as per the dictates of the Emergency Regulations of Grenada enacted during this ongoing pandemic,” the Ministry of Health said in its news release which was issued late Sunday.

The release indicated that the number of persons getting approval to quarantine at home was drastically reduced in the last week, because of the lack of capacity to effectively monitor, test and provide timely test results to everyone.

In recent weeks, at least two persons including a Grenadian who came home from Canada were fined in court for violating quarantine regulations.