The current spike in COVID-19 cases in Dominica notwithstanding, Health Minister, Dr. Irving McIntyre, believes there is no need to shutdown the country’s borders or close all schools on the island at this time.
Speaking as a guest on Prime Minister Roosevelt’s Skerrit’s Anou Palay Programme on Sunday night, Dr. McIntyre reported that Dominica currently has 22 active cases of COVID-19 out of a total number of 57 confirmed cases. The number of deaths remains at zero a total of 35 contacts have recovered. There are 144 contacts under investigation and 44 persons are in quarantine. In total 4765 PCR tests have been done and the number of negatives is 4708.
“Honestly, I really don’t think there is enough evidence to support closing our borders now or even support shutting down and going down into lockdown and curfew,” the Health minister said. “Just over the past few days, we have seen how responsible some of the public has been.”
He continued, “And when we look at a lot of entertainers postponing their events, some of them canceling their events, when we look at the bars and restaurants shutting down, if you notice now people are a little more indoors, they are getting back to their little gardening and staying at home”
Dr. McIntyre believes it is noticeable that the public is coming on board with the Ministry of Health for the past few days, “so to say we need to shut down, curfew, lockdown I am not convinced that it is necessary now.”
“We do not have the evidence for that so to speak,” he contended, adding that there is no evidence of community spread.
The minister said that based on results that he received on Sunday morning, 35 contacts from the Isaiah Thomas Secondary School (ITSS), where one positive case was confirmed last week, tested negative.
“Some of my teachers, they are negative,” he stated. “Other contacts from my Mahaut case, they are negative…I cannot just jump head and just shutdown everything.”
Dr. McIntyre said he was waiting for some more results from the lab, “and when results come in, we analyze it quickly and then we make certain decisions.”
Three schools on the west coast of Dominica – the Isaiah Thomas Secondary School (ITSS), the Mahaut Primary School and the Massacre/Canefield Primary School – have all suspended operations until November 9th, 2020, amidst the rise in COVID-19 cases in Dominica.
Health Minister McIntyre is of the view that the issue of illegal entry does have a significant role to play with regard to the increased number of cases of COVID -19 on the island.
“For one, the illegal entry persons, they don’t know their status, their relatives and friends do not know their status and we do not know their status,” Dr. McIntyre noted.