COVID-19: Four Venezuelans handcuffed to beds at quarantine facility

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Four Venezuelan women were on Saturday night taken to one of the Ministry of Public Health’s COVID-19 quarantine facilities in Region Three where they were handcuffed to beds after they tried to leave.

The News Room learnt that the women were staying at a hotel in Georgetown where one person reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago.

The owner of the hotel, who speaks limited English, told the News Room that he fumigated the facility after the first case.

He said he contacted the health authorities on Saturday evening after another female began to display flu-like symptoms.

At around 21:00hrs, the sick woman and three others who were with her, were taken by health officials to the quarantine facility.

A patient at the facility told the News Room that when the four women arrived they abused the nurses in an attempt to leave.

“We don’t know if they’re positive or what but the doctor bring them up inside of the room…they came out with their suitcases and walked out; the nurses tried to stop them…they tried to hit the nurses and they went downstairs,” she said.

After approximately an hour, the women were taken back to the room accompanied by two Police officers but they still refused to stay at the facility.

“…they were just behaving bad…the Police pulled out his gun on them, just to let them be calm.”

Two of the women were subsequently handcuffed to the bed, while handcuffs were used on the feet of the two others to tie them to the bed.

When contacted, Police Commander Senior Superintendent Simon McBean confirmed there was an incident but is unaware of the details of what transpired.

“The Ministry of [Public] Health sought our assistance in dealing with four patients. They were behaving disorderly and we assisted,” the senior cop told the News Room.

The Commander said any further information should be sought from the Ministry.

Meanwhile, when contacted Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Karen Boyle said she is aware of an incident but could not provide further details.

She said isolated patients are kept in a separate facility from those who are in quarantine and who have not yet been tested.

At the West Demerara facility, the isolation and quarantine rooms are a short distance away.

Reports are that Dr Veronica Griffith, who is the Deputy-Director of Regional and Clinical Services (RHS) issued a directive that all those who are not complying with orders to self-isolate/quarantine, should be transferred to institutional quarantine immediately.

The Chairman of the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF), Moses Nagamootoo said during a virtual press conference on Saturday that he is unaware of such orders but will support it.

He noted that there are cases where persons “dodge the quarantine.”

He explained that since the disease is asymptomatic, people may be infected but are unaware.

“There must be a level of compulsion in matters such as these where they may be brought in and placed under observation,” he said.

Nagamootoo said tough measures are needed to help stop the spread of the disease.

As of April 11, Guyana confirmed 45 cases of the COVID-19 from a total of 193 tests.

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