Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s address to the nation – January 08, 2021. (PMO)

Government will be acquiring additional resources to strengthen its COVID-19 response.

During a televised COVID-19 update this evening, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced that more medical personnel were to be brought in from Cuba to complement this country’s medical staff.  

She said Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, who is also Chairman of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on COVID-19, had been in discussion with Cuba, and a number of foreign governments.

“We have been in contact with the Cuban government and we have requested a number of additional doctors and specialists in particular: two Communicable Disease Specialists, two Respiratory Disease Specialists, two Intensive Care Specialists, two Anesthesiologists, one Respiratory Therapist.

“We’ve also requested four Lab Technicians, who speak English, to be able to assist us at the Best-dos Santos [Public Health Laboratory],” the Prime Minister revealed.

In addition, she said a Virologist from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) was expected on island soon to train persons, who would relieve the laboratory personnel, who have been working long hours during this challenging period. 

Prime Minister Mottley noted that Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, was instrumental in securing this arrangement.

 “They’ve been working flat out. Part of the difficulty of managing and leading a small country is that we do not have the depth of resources generally, in terms of doubling and tripling and quadrupling,” she said. 

The Prime Minister also disclosed that Minister Bostic had been in discussion with the Government of China, regarding the purchase of a mobile laboratory. This, she noted, would significantly boost the island’s testing capacity.

“That mobile lab is a combination of persons and robotics, so therefore it is not as labour intensive. My understanding is that one such lab will become available on the 20th of January, and they are now discussing the logistics of transport,” she said.

Assuring Barbadians that Government remained committed to ensuring public health safety, Prime Minister Mottley encouraged persons to continue to follow the protocols: wearing a face mask, and practising physical distancing and proper hand hygiene, so as to reduce their risk of contracting the viral illness.

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