Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves Wednesday confirmed that 29 nationals on board the cruise liner, “Vision of the Seas” have tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has killed more than 351,000 and infected 5.6 million others worldwide.
Speaking on the state-owned NBC Radio, he confirmed media reports in Trinidad and Tobago that the nationals from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who are among 356 being repatriated, had tested positive for virus after taking rapid tests.
Vision of the Seas has been docked since Tuesday and could remain there until Thursday, as the government administer COVID-19 tests on the 356 Vincentians.
“A certain number were tested negative on the rapid test and those disembarked. I was advised by the Health Services Committee that they were put into quarantine. But everybody has been tested PCR and those test would have gone done to Trinidad,’ Gonsalves told radio listeners.
He said that his government is expecting the results of those tests by Thursday morning.
“They may even come back Wednesday, so you are not going to have any disembarking until probably Thursday of the general body because that PCR test, which is the gold standard. They will tell us if anybody has to go into government appointed quarantine or into isolation or to go home to be quarantined for the 14 days,” Gonsalves said.
He said that when he was contacted by a journalist from Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday he asked that she not demonize the cruise line because of “what positive tests there are” as the ship is also expected to repatriate Trinidadians.
Gonsalves noted that the rapid tests looks for the antibodies, which show that someone was at some point exposed to COVID-19 but is not, at the time of the test, able to transmit the viral illness.
He said the article by the Trinidadian journalist was “fair” even though “the headline might frighten people but the body of that story is correct.”