No Quarantine for Returnees: GNA’s Plan Results in 22 Coronavirus Infections in One Day – Al Marsad

Libya has recorded 22 new infections and one death in the highest daily toll ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which raised concerns from citizens and confirmed the failure of the current plan to bring the Libyans stranded abroad.

(Libya, 27 May 2020) – The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Libya announced in an exceptional statement on Wednesday, one recorded death and 20 new cases of coronavirus after testing samples from Tripoli and Sebha. This is in addition to two cases recorded in the morning, bringing the total today to 22, the majority of whom are returnees from Turkey and their contacts.

In a related context, Mayor of Sebha, Al-Shawish Abdul-Salam, announced the state of public quarantine and the immediate lockdown of the city after recording about 10 cases of coronavirus infection among returnees from abroad and their contacts in light of the NCDC’s refusal to indicate the location of each infection.

The infections in Libya had taken a promising descending curve throughout the past period with no infection for 15 days. However, this has changed after the return of the stranded due to a failed plan by Fayez al-Sarraj’s government that stipulated quarantine and compulsory examination of each person abroad but no obligatory quarantine upon arrival.

This stands at odds with the plan of the Interim Government’s committee headed by Lieutenant General Abdul-Razeq Al-Nadhouri, which applied compulsory quarantine to all returnees, whether or not they were in quarantine abroad. Given the new cases, Al-Nadhouri has issued today strict regulations for stranded Libyans returning to the country via Misrata Airport:

Experts believe that the plan of Sarraj’s government is profoundly defective and its loopholes render it void. It stipulates traveler’s quarantine in a hotel in Istanbul for 14 days before going to a Turkish examination centre. If his result is negative, he returns to the hotel awaiting the flight to Libya the next day or two days later, a period more than enough to catch the virus due to mixing with others in the hotel—in addition to likely infection in the examination centre itself or at the departure airport.

The error in the examination device is an additional factor, especially with the repeated failure of Turkish testing devices in several countries, which imported them. In this way, this plan only wastes huge amounts of money on Turkish quarantine hotels in the first place due to a large number of Libyans there, followed by some Tunisian, European, and Asian hotels in smaller numbers.

Add to all of this the nature of the virus, its incubation period, and the fact that it may not appear in the tested infected person even during the incubation period, which may extend to 27 days as confirmed by Jordanian Minister of Health Dr. Saad Jaber.

For example, a person in 14-day quarantine in Istanbul catches the infection on day 10 without showing any symptoms and on day 14— i.e. after 4 days of incubation—he goes for examination, then the result would be negative. One day later, he returns to Libya and the result is also negative. This gives him a feeling of relief to mingle with others. However, 10 days later, the incubation period ends, he tests positive, and symptoms begin to surface.

Not placing such returnee in the compulsory quarantine for 14 days upon his arrival in Libya, this plan is null and the chance of its success in curbing the infiltration of infection in Libya is very modest. It only wastes money on the stranded in foreign hotels and its result will be counterproductive as happened today.

They should be tested hours before they travel and then enter compulsory quarantine upon their arrival as the Interim Government’s committee did when it quarantined hundreds of returnees in Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar hotels upon their arrival into the eastern region instead of relying only on the unreliable quarantine abroad that did not consider the malicious nature of this virus infection.

© Al Marsad English (2020)