Barbados has recorded five new COVID-19 cases, taking the number testing positive for the virus to 51. And, acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw is appealing to Barbadians to adhere to the measures Government has put in place to protect them.
Ms. Bradshaw made the plea today on VOB’s Brass Tacks Call-in programme, as she responded to questions and concerns that too many people went to supermarkets trying to stock up ahead of the 24-hour curfew, which was extended from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. today.
She told the country that the virus had affected thousands of people across the world and Barbados was no different.
“I can tell you the number of cases in Barbados has continued to rise …. Barbadians, we are now over the 50 mark. What more is it going to take to get Barbadians to sit up and take stock? We need as a country to stand up against the lawlessness in society. There is no dispute; we have done all the messaging that we had to get to all of the demographics in our society.
“This is not a test of the Government of Barbados. We have passed many tests – economic and otherwise. This is a challenge for Barbados and Barbadians. Can we do this, or can we not do this? Can Barbados contain and overcome COVID-19? I say yes, we can, but we can’t do it in a state of panic. We must do it in a state of calm.”
The Acting Prime Minister said some people had gotten the message about the seriousness of the disease and were taking the necessary precautions. However, she noted that there were others who had continued as though it was business as usual.
“And, I just want to reiterate to the country, it is not business as usual. These are unprecedented times; we could never have imagined or wanted to have this level of disruption, but if you look at every country …, particularly in the rest of the region, the various governments have had to take these types of measures ….
“The restrictions are nothing that we take pleasure as a Government in doing, but they are necessary at this point if we are to control the spread of this virus and manage it, given the necessary resources we have available to us at this time,” she stressed.
Ms. Bradshaw pointed out that 24-hr curfews had been implemented in several Caribbean countries and in the lead up to the implementation, there were lengthy lines at the supermarkets, as was the case in Barbados.
She said supermarkets would not be closed indefinitely, but stressed that Government was in discussions with various stakeholders to work out logistics to ensure there was a mechanism in place to access goods and services across the country.
She pointed out that there was enough food that would be accessible to people over the coming weeks and months.
Ms. Bradshaw continued: “Persons in the various stores are working with us on the e-commerce options. We are working with the Welfare Department, with the Czar to be able to get the vouchers to the various vulnerable households.”
The acting Prime Minister stressed that Government was “leaving no stone unturned” in an effort to find the solution to the situation.