COVID-19 update and press conference – February 26, 2022. (PMO)

Sporting activities in Barbados could be restarting shortly.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Ian Gooding-Edghill, said officials were working towards “a purposeful re-introduction of sports within two weeks”, in a risk-based manner to ensure the safety of players and spectators.

And, Mr. Gooding-Edghill gave the assurance that his Ministry would continue to work with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment and the sporting bodies for the urgent re-introduction of sporting activities in Barbados.

The Minister made the comments today during a COVID-19 Update and Press Conference. He disclosed that he had discussions with the Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith, along with representatives of several sporting disciplines on Friday, to receive their feedback, in preparation for the phased re-introduction of sporting events.

He told the country: “The Chief Medical Officer has indicated that the approach to be adopted will be a risk-based one, taking into consideration indoor versus outdoor activities and contact versus non-contact sports. As agreed at yesterday’s meeting, the Ministry of Health and Wellness submitted the risk-based metrics to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment for their examination, in consultation with their partners and stakeholders.

“We also decided that the governing bodies for sporting organisations who currently do not have protocols will urgently develop and submit their protocols to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment and to the COVID Monitoring Unit.”

Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. The Most Honourable Kenneth George, indicated that the country was at the downslope of the Omicron wave, and in moving forward, persons would have to live safely with COVID.  

“The Ministry of Health and the EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) have taken some decisions. Those decisions have been taken looking at public health internally, regionally and internationally. And I would like to assure you that those decisions are being taken cautiously and purposefully. At the same time, we are working with other entities across the public and private sector to make sure that our economy gets back on track.

“I am indeed happy that schools have re-opened; … based on a few visits to the airport, it appears that our visitor arrivals are up. So I think we are going in the right direction. I would just continue to urge Barbadians to do the tried and tested things that we have been saying for the past two years – physical distancing, that’s three feet; hands sanitisation; knowing your status if you have been exposed and getting vaccines which are available at multiple sites across Barbados,” Dr. George urged.

Head of Isolation Facilities, Dr. The Most Honourable Corey Forde, said 22 persons were in the two intensive care units, which were being amalgamated as of today. He disclosed that three persons were on ventilator support, with two having a “very poor prognosis”.

Dr. Forde stated that eight of the 15 elderly persons he had reported on recently had returned home, while three had died. He noted that an increasing number of elderly persons were coming for assessments when they contracted the virus.

“Since the last conversation, what we’ve seen… is a pickup in persons coming to the assessment centres…to be assessed. And in that particular (elderly) group, we have been able to pull…some individuals, and actually have them admitted for very short periods of time to correct things that if they were staying at home, for example, there probably might have been challenges.

“So, I want to congratulate you for that and continue to advise you, if you feel unwell, if you have any challenges with the elderly and you’re not sure, I’m asking you to continue to bring them in for assessment at our facilities,” Dr. Forde advised.

He also thanked the nurses for their tremendous work in the isolation facilities.

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