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Another case of swine flu in Tobago


PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Tobago’s County Medical Officer of Health, Dr Mentor Melville, has warned students of the Bishop’s High School that drastic measures would be employed if they refused to observe the quarantine laws placed on them.

Melville sounded the warning during a press conference yesterday evening to announce that Tobago now has three confirmed swine flu cases after one of the 11 suspected cases that was reported on Friday, tested positive.

The Bishop’s High School was closed on Friday until June 22 after one of its students tested positive for H1N1.

Melville said that the third case was not a student of the Bishop’s High School but had come into contact with one of the infected persons.

He, however, urged members of the Bishop’s High School community to observe the quarantine recommendations.

“The school is not on a holiday, it is under quarantine and we need them to observe the quarantine law. If the kids are not going to stay home and exhibit or observe our quarantine laws, then we might have to, we don’t want to, but we might have to get a little harder on them.” Melville warned.

He said that the new case as well as the two others that had tested positive earlier in the week were quarantined at their homes on medication. He added that they were not a threat to other occupants of their homes as they have been advised to wear masks at all times and follow strict safety measures.

Secretary of Health and Social Services in the Tobago House of Assembly, Albert Pilgrim, also announced that, apart from the designated screening area at the Scarborough Regional Hospital, as of Tuesday June 16, an additional screening site will be located at the Canaan Health Centre. The Portable Isolation Containment System currently located at the Scarborough Regional Hospital compound will be relocated to the health centre as well as it will accommodate a separate area for evaluation. The Roxborough Health Centre will also be offering evaluation services for flu-like symptoms on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 am to 4 pm.

Pilgrim said that the old Geriatric Unit at the hospital will be used as the alternate isolation area should the need arise.

Meanwhile, it was business as usual at the Crown Point International airport. When Sunday Newsday visited the airport yesterday afternoon, traffic was slow and staff at the check-in counter were not wearing protective masks.

However, an Airports Authority officer explained that they (officers) as well as Immigration and Customs officers wore masks and gloves when checking international flights or arriving passengers. Members of the public were also seen wearing masks and a number of pharmacies around Scarborough have reported a rush for hand sanitisers.

Dr Melville said that although it was unnecessary for members of the public to wear masks, “it was not against the law if someone wanted to see about their personal health”. He however, endorsed Pilgrim’s call for calm and assured that health officials were doing everything necessary to contain the spread of the virus while admonishing the public to practise proper hygiene.

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