The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment has reiterated that, to date, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 in St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Caribbean region.

In an update issued yesterday, the Ministry said as of February 21st , 2020, it has advised that in addition to persons arriving from mainland China, persons arriving from Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau and South Korea will also be quarantined for 14 days.

During the period February 7th to 20th, 2020, a total of 17 persons were quarantined. To date one person has completed the fourteen (14) day period, while 16 remain quarantined.  As of February 22nd , 2020 no other persons have been placed under quarantine.

The Ministry said that while quarantine and isolation are public health practices used to stop or limit the spread of diseases, there is a significant difference between the two terminologies:

It explained that Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of persons who are well and may have been exposed to a communicable disease like COVID-19. This is done to see if they develop signs and symptoms over the incubation period of the particular disease.

Isolation on the other hand, is used to separate known ill persons who have a communicable disease, from those who are healthy. Isolation restricts the movement of ill persons to help stop the spread of certain diseases.

The Ministry of Health has appealed to the public to support its efforts to keep the population safe by continuing to take steps to avoid the spread of respiratory illnesses:

These include washing hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer; covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; Coughing and sneezing into the crook of your elbow if you do not have a tissue; avoiding close contact with people who have flu-like symptoms and thoroughly cook meat and eggs before consumption.