Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anton Best, is maintaining that the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ decision to implement a new approach to quarantine is justified.
Speaking today during a COVID-19 press briefing hosted by COVID-19 Public Advisor, David Ellis, Dr. Best “argued against” the notion that removing routine quarantine was counterproductive, and stated that health authorities did not employ only one strategy to mitigate the spread of the virus in Barbados, but a “whole suite of strategies”.
He added: “We realised that based on the sheer numbers, we simply could not continue to do routine quarantine like we were doing, say a year ago. So, we were very much justified in ending routine quarantine. Please appreciate that we are approaching the two-month mark of this particular search and you will see that the numbers are coming down.”
Dr. Best continued: “So, if the removal of routine quarantine was counterproductive, we would not have been able to contain the spread of COVID, and we have contained the spread of COVID. But, we still need people to continue practising the public health and social measures and the non-pharmaceutical interventions to be able to continue to mitigate and stamp out this particular surge that we’re experiencing. It depends a lot on personal responsibility.”
He shared that during the planning phases for the Omicron surge last December, the authorities decided that there was no need to employ routine quarantine measures based on the expected number of cases and the science suggesting that Omicron was less virulent.
“Before Omicron started in Barbados, we knew that it was more infectious; meaning that one person with Omicron was likely to pass it on to more people, so we expected and we did this through modelling. We expected that the numbers were going to be larger, but then we also knew that this was going to be less virulent or less dangerous….
“That is why we said this is something that we can do and we can do it safely. Now please appreciate that. There are many other measures that we employ from a public health perspective, such as case detection, and isolation, to be able to mitigate the impact of a COVID surge and we employ all of those other strategies but we dialed back the need for routine quarantine in Barbados,” Dr. Best underlined.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer cautioned Barbadians experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to seek medical attention early, as it increased the likelihood of survival and success for the interventions that are required.
He also reminded the public to get vaccinated and boosted to “reduce the likelihood of an adverse outcome, such as death due to COVID-19”.