COVID-19 update – January 20, 2021. (PMO)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley is again encouraging members of the public to ignore fake news and rumours.

Instead, she wants Barbadians to remain focused and continue doing what is necessary to protect themselves and keep safe in this COVID-19 environment.

In an address to the nation, where she gave a COVID-19 update, Ms. Mottley continued: “Ignore fake news and ignore rumours, because all that is doing is causing panic in a society unnecessarily…. COVID gives us enough to panic about on natural days, far less fake news. It is a challenging time. What more than anything else we need is calmness [and] stability…”

The Prime Minister said she had asked Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Anton Best, and his colleagues to speak to employees and employers about COVID-19, so that they would have a better understanding of the disease, and how it is spread.

She pointed out that a lack of understanding of the virus had put an inordinate burden on the testing capacity of the country because more people were being sent for tests than ought to, based on the guidance from the public health officials.

“I spoke to the Head of the Private Sector, Mr. Edward Clarke, and we have agreed that Dr. Best will address the private sector; that he will be recorded so it can be replicated for those who would have missed it.

“We also agreed that he should do the same thing, should the unions want it, because clearly it is both workers and employers that are needed to be provided with this information, so that they have a sense of comfort,” she stated.

Ms. Mottley said the Minister of Tourism would be meeting shortly with tourism officials and those from the BEST programme. 

She added that once those aspects were refined, she would then meet with the tourism officials early next week.  She also noted that a Social Partnership meeting would probably be held next week.

With regard to Government reimbursing those promoters who had to cancel Old Year’s Night events, the Prime Minister said she had asked the National Cultural Foundation to put a framework in place.

“These things are not processed overnight, because the Government still has to do its due diligence to ensure that we are paying what we are supposed to….  The due diligence…has to be done to investigate the claims; once those claims are investigated, the Government will pay,” she stated.

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