Award winning Canadian rapper Drake and the nine persons who arrived on his $200 million private jet were all subjected to the same strict protocols as every other individual who arrived in Barbados on Sunday, says COVID-19 Czar Richard Carter.
And, while the high-level Government advisor declined to comment on photos of the 33-year-old rapper posing with locals at a popular nightlife spot, he has expressed concern about persons neglecting COVID-19 protocols in numerous places, including “spaces of entertainment”.
Drake, real name Aubrey Graham arrived on Air Drake, his customized Boeing 767 aircraft on Sunday when the Grantley Adams International Airport re-opened to commercial flights for the first time in months.
Under the existing protocols, persons arriving from low-risk destinations including Canada are asked to produce a negative COVID-19 PCR antigen test taken within 72-hours of arrival to forego testing on arrival and quarantine pending the results.
According to the Czar, Drake and his entourage, who will be on the island for one week and are expected to shoot a music video here, were only allowed to enter the country after their tests were uploaded and scrutinized before and then on arrival.
“Drake and a party of nine arrived in Barbados. They had all previously uploaded their PCR tests, all of which were negative. They were scrutinized on arrival and deemed to be valid, and [also] based on the assessment of risk for Canada, which was applied to the Canadian flight that also came to Barbados yesterday,” Carter told Barbados TODAY.
“There were no exceptions made or specific conditions attached to them, just as they were none to all of the other passengers arriving on the Air Canada flight,” he added.
When asked to respond to concerns about the recording artiste hugging and posing for photos with fans in St Lawrence Gap, Czar Carter noted that many of the passengers on Air Canada Flight AC966 arrived to hugs and kisses from their family members, without restrictions from authorities.
Nevertheless, Carter reiterated calls for persons to conduct themselves as if everyone is potentially COVID-19 positive. He condemned a drastic deviation from Government’s protocols by some people.
“Those protocols have not been relaxed, but persons have relaxed them in terms of their observance and are not following them. So you are seeing people going to certain places of entertainment without wearing masks or social distancing.
“People are on minibuses without masks and social distancing, and people are engaging in social and recreational activities without following the protocols and of course, that is a concern.
“The observance and compliance are what has allowed us to be able to have no local spread of COVID-19 and we have not had that over the last two months. But all of that would be at risk if people continue the behavior that I’m seeing of relaxing and not observing the protocols,” the Czar lamented.
In fact, he argued that the resumption of commercial traffic at the country’s main port of entrance was even more reason that Barbadians should return to strict adherence of the protocols.
“I think we are reasonably satisfied that we have not seen local transmission of COVID-19, and therefore the greatest risk is introduction from outside, and that means that all of those protocols that are designed to protect every individual now have to be more scrupulously observed,” said Carter.