Friday 23 October, 2020

Symptomatic people refusing COVID-19 tests must still quarantine

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram has revealed that some symptomatic people are refusing to take the COVID-19 test.

"They present with flu-like symptoms but refuse to be swabbed," Parasram disclosed while adding, "as I said, we can’t force anyone to be swabbed.” 

The test is voluntary so doctors and health officials have relied on the mandatory requirement of quarantining to keep these people, who may be infected, from mingling with the general population.

"What we have been advising is that persons self-isolate for the period of their illness to prevent the spread of whatever it may be," said Parasram, who was speaking at a Health Ministry conference. 

"It may be the common cold but even so, we want to keep the viral levels low,” he said.

He added: "The reason we had added COVID-19 to the schedule for the Quarantine Act on January 31 — if you recall — is to ensure that once someone looks like they have COVID-19, it gives us the authority to quarantine or isolate that person under law until we either deem them non-infectious.

"We may not be able to administer them any treatment if they refuse, but at least we can isolate them to prevent the further spread of diseases."

Under the Quarantine Act, anyone found lying to or resisting instructions given by active quarantine officials can be subjected to a $6,000 fine or up to six months' imprisonment.

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