Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s address to the nation – February 25, 2021. (PMO)

Government now has an “over supply” of the automated reagents needed to expedite the testing of COVID-19 samples at the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley made the announcement tonight during an address to the nation from Ilaro Court.

She said there were adequate supplies of the reagents as well as swabs, which would allow the lab to operate seamlessly for months, and authorities were also seeking to secure more in the meantime.

This should avoid a repeat of the situation the lab faced a few weeks ago when a delay in the shipment of the automated reagents resulted in a backlog of samples since the ribonucleic acid (RNA), the carrier of the genetic codes in some viruses, had to be extracted manually.

Ms. Mottley stated that with the backlog resolved, the laboratory was now able to deliver test results within 24 hours.

Additionally, the Prime Minister shared that there were seven PCR machines in operation, one of which has been dedicated for testing patients at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. 

This, she explained, would allow for doctors to treat patients in a short timeframe “rather than in the inordinately long times that they were waiting before”.

She added that despite the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Barbados and a spike within the last three days, the country still had the ability to “turn the corner”.

“The truth is that the evidence of the lockdown and restrictions, especially the last weekend and the last week, will more be seen going forward and not in today’s numbers or yesterday’s numbers or the numbers the day before.

“I am going to ask Minister Bostic to also release, through the COVID Communications Unit tomorrow, a graph that he shared with me today showing the positivity [rates], so that Barbadians can begin to see that while we are still concerned, the truth is that we have also to be cautiously optimistic as we go forward,” Ms. Mottley maintained.

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