Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s address to the nation – January 26, 2021. (PMO)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has announced that the Ministry of Health and Wellness will commence health checks of Barbadians within their homes during the coming weeks.

She said Barbados would begin a new lockdown from February 3 to 17, and Ministry officials would be knocking on doors to survey occupants about their health, and checking for symptoms of COVID-19.

“We want to give our healthcare system and our healthcare professionals a chance to not only fight this, but to win this battle,” she stated.

Ms. Mottley, who was speaking during an address to the nation tonight, said: “This lockdown that we are calling, this pause, this national reset is going to be necessary in order for us to give ourselves also a chance, to go into the community, house by house by house.”

The Prime Minister disclosed that The University of the West Indies and the Ministry of Health and Wellness would work together to effectively roll out this programme, and it would be led by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, who is also Chairman of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on COVID-19.

She revealed that one aspect of the plan is to go into the communities by organising the island into polling districts.

“We have 300 polling districts; we need at least 300 persons going into the community on a parallel track, so that over the course of 10 to 12 days, we are able to get into as many houses as possible; ask persons through a questionnaire, that is already being used by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, with respect to symptoms to get a sense of those who have symptoms, and then to use the rapid antigen tests to ensure that we can pick out of the community and take for treatment immediately, all persons who are positive.”

Prime Minister Mottley said the house to house check is to reach people who don’t know that they have COVID-19, so that they could get the necessary treatment.

“I say we are going to wage war on COVID. I mean it,” she stressed, while calling on all Barbadians to stay at home and in their communities, so agents of the ministry could get to them and rule them out through the rapid antigen tests, which is 99 per cent accurate for persons who are symptomatic.

fabian.belgrave@barbados.gov.bb

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