COVID-19 News briefing with Public Advisor, David Ellis. (PMO)

As some people prepare to celebrate the Christmas holidays, they are being urged by Head of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit, Ronald Chapman, not to break the law and host functions or put themselves at risk of becoming infected with the virus.

Mr. Chapman shared this and other useful information today as he participated in a press conference hosted by the COVID-19 Public Advisor, David Ellis.

He said: “My message is, over the Christmas holidays, …it is not worth it to break the directive or to break the law so that you can have a family function or go to a party or something like that, and put yourself and others at risk and reverse the gains that we are steadily making within the country. Stay strong, let us stay on course, …so that we can continue to bring this disease under control.”

He noted that a number of things were being considered now, and said the public would shortly be informed about any decisions to be taken over the Christmas holidays.

“And just remember, a lot of this is going to be dependent upon what is happening epidemiologically within the country. So if we have persons going out there breaking protocols and the cases start to go back up, then obviously as the Prime Minister would say, the brakes go back on. But if we do what we are supposed to do, then there can be an easing of the brakes and the pressing of the accelerator,” he pointed out.

Mr. Chapman said the monitoring unit was concerned that over the Christmas holidays, persons might not want to come forward for testing because they would not want to be in isolation, if positive.

“If you are feeling symptoms of COVID, please come forward to be tested and please come forward for care…. The doctors will tell you that COVID has a way of reducing the amount of oxygen in your blood and sometimes you don’t know that this is happening.

Head of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit, Ronald Chapman. (FP)

“If you do not come forward for care and come forward for testing, it may lead to a negative outcome or extremely severe disease. This is not a time for us to put Christmas over our own health,” he insisted.

Officials, Mr. Chapman noted, were looking at the possibility of reopening schools early next year, and encouraged citizens to follow the protocols.

He said businesses, for the most part, were complying with the COVID-19 protocols. However, he stated that the challenge arose when persons moved outside of those environments.

“We are seeing that (the challenge) in the homes where there are people who come over…, that you know and trust, not knowing that they may have COVID. We are seeing that on the way to and from the workplace where persons may share vehicles, they may stand up under the tree and have a conversation afterwards or go and have a drink somewhere together.

“So the business places have not been that great a point of concern in terms of the transmission of COVID….  We are seeing lots of compliance by businesses. However, we are still very concerned about what is going on outside of those structured environments,” Mr. Chapman explained.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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