THE repatriation of nationals from Australia on Tuesday via a specially arranged flight is creating uneasiness amongst citizens who feared some of the returnees may be COVID-19 carriers.
Members of the public raised their fears during the weekly talkback show held on the national broadcaster last Sunday.
But in response, Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Jimmy Rodgers said despite the fact that some of these citizens are returning from COVID-19 infected countries such as Australia and New Zealand, none of them is a diagnosed patient.
“As far as we know, none of these people coming home have the virus,’’ he said.
“Secondly, everyone that will interact with these repatriated citizens will be in protective gear like our front-liners that attended to incoming overseas vessels,” Rodgers added.
“So everyone that will interact with them upon arrival will be strictly abided by the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
“From that perspective, any risk for transmission to our front-liners is very low.”
Rodgers also said that all repatriated individuals will adhere to strict safety protocols including the mandatory wearing of N95 masks.
He said the N95 mask was designed to shield 95% of any infections, viruses, or otherwise.
“It’s the best we have at the moment.”
The Secretary further said that local front liners will also be wearing N95 masks to protect them from contracting the virus.
“The purpose of wearing a mask is to prevent transmission either way.”
Rodgers said that because of the mask, those that will be handling inbound passengers at the airport or inside the plan need not to be quarantined.
“Quarantining will be enforced on those interacting with anyone who is found to be positive,” Rogers stressed.
“Right now, none of the people coming in is diagnosed with the virus.
“In fact we are very confident that all of them don’t have the virus,’’ he said.
All returnees have to go through a 28-day quarantine process before they will be released into society.
By CROFTON UTUKANA