SVG receives PCR machine, in-country COVID-19 testing to begin

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St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) on Friday May 15, 2020 received the PCR machine required for COVID-19 testing.

Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, Hon. Luke Browne announced this via his Facebook page.

This will now enable the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment (MOHWE) to conduct in-country COVID-19 testing.

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The machine was received by Minister Hon. Luke Browne; Permanent Secretary in the MOHWE, Cuthbert Knights and Chief Lab Technologist at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, Elliot Samuel.

Speaking on the development, Browne said, “the PCR machine required for COVID-19 testing is finally here! Hallelujah!”

Browne informed that the shipment had been delayed in the USA “for reasons beyond our control.”

The machine was purchased by the ministry with funding received from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). The minister said the MOHWE expects to receive four additional PCR machines. Two from the International Atomic Energy Agency and two from Taiwan.

Minister Browne, informed that in-country testing should begin by the middle of next week, after the machine is set up and personnel are trained, noting that “this is an important breakthrough.”

“We are entering a new stage of the national response to the pandemic. The Ministry is delivering for you!, Browne concluded.”

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COVID-19 testing for SVG has been done at the Caribbean Public Health Agency’s (CARPHA) lab in Trinidad and Tobago.

The MOHWE has been able to conduct rapid tests for COVID-19 antibody testing.

SVG has confirmed seventeen COVID-19 cases, 14 patients have since recovered, hence there are now 3 active cases. No deaths have been reported.

As of Friday (May 15), 161 persons have been tested for COVID-19 in SVG.