Those warehouse business owners who need assistance with issues of poor ventilation have been advised to address their letters to the attention of the Head of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit, Ronald Chapman, in the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

Additionally, the private sector has been notified that the Ministry and the Environmental Protection Department would look at those business operations and determine the most suitable methods for improving air quality.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley made this announcement at a press conference this evening, as the country continues to battle an increase in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant.

The Prime Minister noted that once correspondence is received, the Unit would then be “able to help some of us in being able to deal with this variant, which clearly is hyper transmissive, as a doctor referred it to me the other day”.

She pointed out that officials in the Ministry of Health and the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit had highlighted difficulties with recurring cases in areas of poor ventilation, primarily businesses in warehouses and in buildings where ventilation is poor.

Ms. Mottley added this situation called for a re-examination of “the things that we are doing as I started to talk to you last week”.

The Prime Minister added: “We’re not seeing cases coming out of places where people are following the protocols in large measure, and for the most part we have to be grateful for that.  But we now have to tighten the protocols in those spaces where we can.  I have already had an initial sounding to the head of the Private Sector Agency, indicating that I’ve asked the Ministry of Health, along with the Environmental Protection Department, to start to look at these buildings, particularly warehouses, where the ventilation needs to be enhanced, whether through the installation of negative pressure facilities, or whether through the installation of extractor fans, depending on what is appropriate.”

Ms. Mottley continued: “I am not a scientist….  I am not an engineer.  They have to be the ones advising us what needs to be put in place.  Those persons who are in churches and who potentially need assistance elsewhere, we will talk with you and see what we can do.  But for the moment, we need to apply our hearts to commonsense and we need to recognise that this thing can get ahead of us, especially those who are unvaccinated.” 

The Prime Minister acknowledged that Barbados had entered the “long haul” phase of the COVID-19 battle and must do everything in its power to contain the incidence of hospitalisations, and hopefully reduce the number of deaths.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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