Minister of Health, Donville Inniss??

Barbadians have been given the assurance that despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring a pandemic with respect to Influenza A (H1N1) and there?? being only three confirmed cases of the illness here, it is still business as usual.

Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, in clarifying his Ministry’s position on the illness during a press conference at Jemmott’s Lane, said there was no intention to prevent persons from enjoying Crop Over or any other mass gatherings.

He said: "What the Ministry of Health is wishing to emphasise here is the preventative measures that need to be taken to prevent any mass spread of this Influenza A (H1N1) virus. But it does not mean that people will not jump in bands and people will not engage in mass gatherings and have a good time. This is one?? Minister?? who intends to jump in a band this Crop Over … However, I just want to re-emphasise, wash your hands, use a tissue to blow your nose… if you are generally not feeling well, then do not go out."

He added: "If I am down with the flu I will stay home… so it would be a sense of irresponsibility on the part of any individual to know that you are not feeling well and still go to these gatherings."

While stating that he wanted locals and visitors to have a very successful Crop Over season, he said: "That is why we are emphasising at this point in time, in particular and, given the fact that the alert level has been raised to six, which is the maximum level… the need for Barbadians and visitors to Barbados to be very much aware of what they need to do to prevent the passing on, or contracting of this virus.

Acknowledging that the Health Ministry would continue to sensitise Barbadians about the virus and emphasise the need for the preventative matters to be dealt with and taken seriously, Mr. Inniss said: "We do not in any way, shape or fashion wish to dilute the importance and the seriousness of this virus, particularly since it is a new one."

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