More rage over test delays
Desperation is setting in for some trapped in quarantine because of the long wait for their COVID-19 results, and no response from hotlines and emergency emails.
Some Barbadians and visitors say they have been stewing in quarantine for almost two weeks as they watch others even diagnosed with the illness leave isolation.
The situation has affected an in transit visitor, led to complications for a diabetic, and resulted in money and food woes for others trapped in confinement.
British national David Holder revealed that some tourists broke quarantine to go to the beach because they had been waiting for almost two weeks and got no results, as multiple calls to the COVID-19 hotline numbers went unanswered.
“I don’t know what to do. It appears as if the Government is sacrificing the tourists. The newspapers in England have been talking to people here and they’re going to make it a big story. Barbados is destroying its tourist industry.
“A Canadian couple who were isolated for 11 days, they basically broke the quarantine. They said this is ridiculous and they went to the beach. People all over the country are going to start doing it because of the Government’s failure,” Holder told the DAILY NATION.
He is staying at a facility on the South Coast, and he was one of several people, including Barbadians, who reached out yesterday to complain about how not knowing their status was affecting their finances as well as physical and mental health.
Holder, a diabetic, said that because he had been sequestered and unable to get adequate exercise, he developed neuropathy, an ailment that could injure nerves throughout the body.
“We haven’t broken quarantine because we want to be good citizens, but if it takes much longer we will, because it’s just ridiculous. The hotline is permanently engaged and we’ve spoken to other people on their balconies and they are all going through the same thing. People are leaving to go to the beach because they’ve been here that long; it’s ridiculous.
“The Government is going to end up with a worse problem if any of these people are positive, because they are not doing what they should do. I don’t know if the Government has realised, but [it is] shooting itself in the foot because of this delay,” he added.
An in transit tourist was stuck in quarantine because the tests received for entry expired and the visitor needed another test to board a flight to St Kitts, but had not received the results.
A Barbadian returning home said her mother used her pension to pay for the stay at a guest house, believing it would have been for a few days from January 2, but now after more than a week, relatives were forced to bring food.
“I am eating things as if I was in jail with visits and looking out the window knowing my family is in the same island as me, but I can’t see them, [which] is driving me mad. Even the arm bands that they give you getting to me,” the woman said.
She said that the hotline and email addresses were useless, as no one answered.
“The next torture, is even when you done here, who is going to pay the bill? I don’t want the police to come for me breaking quarantine and owing a hotel bill too,” she said.
Another visitor, “Denis”, said he arrived on January 4 but had to relocate to a more affordable facility after his money started to run low.
A 63-year-old woman said she came into contact with a COVID-19-positive patient late last year. She got tested and has been quarantining at home for about two weeks, with no information from officials. The infected person has since been cleared.
“My issue is that when they wanted me to let me know to get tested, they found me. But now I want them, I can’t get through to anybody. The body that had COVID-19 went in and come out clean, but I’m still here and I don’t know what to do because they are not answering. I just feel like going out,” she said.
The Ministry of Tourism recently established a 24-hour hotline to address the delays. At a recent press conference, it was announced that additional resources were put in place to conduct tests and that COVID-19 call centres would be opened to deal with the calls, which rose from 1 700 to 31 000. (TG)