PAHO/WHO representative, Dr. Yitades Gebre, presenting the supplies to Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel, Jeffrey Bostic, at the Glebe Polyclinic today. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

In the face of a new COVID-19 strain, Barbadians are reminded that they must follow the health protocols implemented by the Ministry of Health and Wellness as the baseline to fighting the virus.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffery Bostic, reiterated this today during the handing over of medical supplies and equipment from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), at the Glebe Polyclinic, The Glebe, St. George.

Lt. Col. Bostic told the gathering that the vaccines were not yet on island and all the logistical and other preparations necessary for the receipt and distribution of the vaccines were being put in place for when they become available sometime next year.

“We have the variant coming out of the United Kingdom…but I want to make it abundantly clear…I have said it before…the vaccines will enhance what we are doing, but what we are doing, we have to continue to do. Our baseline defence in fighting this virus must and will never change, that is observing all the protocols that have been put out there by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and what we do at the Grantley Adams International Airport and maybe next year the Bridgetown Port, what we do is very, very important.”

The Minister continued: “On arrival, a valid PCR test; if you do not have that test, we give you a test and you are placed in quarantine, either at the designated hotel or government facility, and then you are given a second test, and if the second test is negative, then you are allowed to go. 

“Our experience in Barbados has been that the second test now accounts for over 90 per cent of the positive cases that we are getting in Barbados. So, we are capturing persons at the point of entry and that is vital.”

He stated that with there being another strain of COVID-19, the Ministry had been in contact with officials from PAHO and World Health Organization (WHO), and had been “following the science and the advice given”.

Lt. Colonel Bostic affirmed: “We believe that once we continue to hold fast to our protocols and do exactly what we have been doing or try to do it better, in any area that we have been found wanting at any point of time, then we believe that we would be able to contain any spread of COVID, whatever strain that comes to Barbados.”

The Minister commended the staff working in the policlinics, in the Ministry, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Harrison Point Isolation Facility, the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory, and in all aspects of healthcare under the remit of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, for performing “magnificently” for long hours without complaint, to fulfill their national duty.

“So, we salute the staff this morning, and I take the opportunity to thank the staff at the Glebe, and I say that not likely because it is a massive undertaking that we have been doing over the last several months and at the same time maintaining the provision of healthcare throughout the country,” he stated.

Meanwhile, PAHO/WHO representative, Dr. Yitades Gebre, cautioned that as people prepare to celebrate the holidays, they should consider their plans carefully, and take every precaution to “keep yourselves and others safe if you live in an area with COVID-19 transmission. That could be the best gift you could give; the gift of health, life, love, joy and hope”.

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