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Quarantine for those returning to the country, a necessary process surrounded by uncertainty

Some denounce precarious conditions in the spaces where they have been transferred

On Thursday of last week, Antonia Pérez had to wait for almost three hours at the Las Americas International Airport to see her son, Ismael, who had arrived on a humanitarian flight from Miami, United States, where he was stranded next to Dozens of Dominicans due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

Unfortunately, the wait was not worth it. He could only see it in the distance. Although he asked the military personnel who were there what the protocol consisted of, none gave him a satisfactory answer.

“There was no single authority that clearly informed the relatives of those who came to the country what protocol they followed, or, at least, what was happening to them. They came and had a test done, then they put them on buses, but they didn’t even tell us where they were taking them, ”Pérez claimed.

In this situation, he said that she, like family members of other Creoles, got into their vehicles to go after the buses and thus know the fate of their loved ones.

“It was enough for us to be informed where they were going, to avoid so much uncertainty. I was very concerned, those authorities were not even seeking social distancing, since we saw that the buses were all stuck together and without any protection, ”she assured.

One of the situations that most disturbed Pérez was seeing how a woman, “who seemed desperate from the airport, because she had come with her baby of perhaps a year and did not want to expose him much, took advantage of one of the bus stops where she was going to take your little one out the window and hand him over to a man, who was probably a relative. ”

Pérez explained that, after a while of touring, they realized that the newcomers were being taken to Salcedo, to one of the isolation centers that the Government has arranged for those who return to their homeland; that they must pass 14 days of quarantine, and for some suspicious and positive cases; who receive medical attention.

The space to which they were transferred is not fully furnished, there are even those who barely have a bed without sheets. “We know it is for a short time, but the conditions are not optimal,” said a young woman housed there.

About 126 students who arrived in the country a month ago from Cuba, also expressed their discontent at the place where they were taken, precisely in Villa Olímpica, Salcedo.

In addition to reporting that they had not been notified that they would be quarantined, they also made known through various social media posts the level of disorder and dirt that some apartments had.

However, not all cases are like this. On Wednesday of last week, the presidential candidate of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), Gonzalo Castillo, facilitated the return of boxers Alberto Puello and Jeison Rosario, who were stranded in the United States.

“Immediately we arrived, we were tested. All went well. After that they took us to an isolation center in the National District, ”said Rosario, who described the environment where she was as“ adequate ”.

Likewise, another athlete who arrived from El Salvador last week, the basketball player Pascual Medrano, said that the place where he was taken “has everything necessary.” “Although they have not told us how long we should be in quarantine, the space is fine, there is no discomfort,” he said.

Process

On the ferry flight in which Ismael arrived, 141 nationals also came, leaving from Fort Lauderdale International Airport, on Spirit Airlines. Before boarding the plane, all passengers underwent a medical examination by Dr. Monica Dorvil-Bello, president of the Florida Dominican Health Association (Dohcaf).

Likewise, Dominican citizens completed a form about their medical history, in which they also accepted various provisions and requirements, including remaining in mandatory quarantine, established by the High Level Commission for the prevention and control of the coronavirus.

So far, about a thousand Dominicans stranded abroad have been transferred to the country, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mirex), an entity that coordinates with the embassies and consulates of different countries to manage the return.

When they arrive in the country, they are received by personnel from the Ministry of Defense, the entity that guards the isolation centers, and from the Ministry of Public Health, who interview them and proceed to perform the rapid test.

As explained by Dr. Jeffry Gutiérrez, this rapid test consists of measuring the immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies in the blood.

If this is negative, they should be transferred to one of the centers, which are currently in Santo Domingo, Santiago, Boca Chica, Jarabacoa, Mirabal Sisters, San Francisco de Macorís, among others.

If the test is positive, a second test called RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) is performed, which will give the definitive diagnosis. This sample, according to Gutiérrez, is taken with a sterile swab from the patient’s nasopharynx or sputum.

“Even isolated, there is fear”

A woman, housed in a center in the National District after coming from the United States a week ago, stated that although they are isolated, she fears being infected “because they have supposedly been bringing people who have tested positive to where we are.” The lady, who asked for privacy with her identity, declared that “even isolated, there is fear. We cannot complain about the place, because it is in excellent condition, but there is fear. ”

Dominicans who returned from New York denounce poor quarantine conditions

Eighty Dominicans who returned to the Dominican Republic on a charter flight, and who were held for 14 days for quarantine in various apartments in the Duarte province, denounced the appalling conditions in which they are found.

The Dominicans were taken to apartments in various buildings located at the Angelina Crossing, in San Francisco de Macorís, in the Duarte province, from where they reported that the place does not have the minimum conditions to stay there.

They indicated that there is no water in the homes, they have not been provided with enough food and that many are without medication and without the required medical attention.

They arrived on Saturday morning on flight number 8871 of the Delta airline, from New York City, managed by the Dominican Consulate in that city, paying $ 306 for the air ticket.

The complainants demanded to be transferred and taken to a more comfortable place and to be provided with the basics to stay during the 14 days of quarantine.

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