Statement by the Ministry of Health & Wellness in response to an article in the September 30 Midweek Nation headlined ‘Doctors Send Urgent Letter To Bostic’.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness has noted that BAMP has shared its concerns about the new travel protocols dated 24 September 2020. It should be noted that BAMP is represented on the Emergency Operations Committee of the Ministry.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness’ strategic position is that of maintaining and protecting the public’s health, based on the available scientific evidence, and supporting measured reopening of the Barbados economy.
Since Barbados detected its first case of COVID-19 in March of this year, we have conducted 25,000 PCR COVID-19 tests, 190 persons have been diagnosed and we have recorded seven deaths.
This is testimony to our commitment to best practice as identified by the World Health Organisation and the Pan American Health Organisation. This pandemic has carried the world into uncharted territory globally.
It is therefore imperative that we follow the guidance of these agencies with global and hemispheric discipline in public health, which is a dedicated and specific area in the practice of medicine.
In response to the statement issued by BAMP to the media, these are our positions on key concerns raised:
- The new protocol requesting a repeat test four to five days after the first test is based on the current evidence published by the World Health Organisation. We are convinced that even in these uncertain times that the public health of Barbadians will remain protected;
- The mandatory pre-testing was instituted as a good public health measure to ensure that while on a commercial airline there would be a reduction in risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus from passenger to passenger. This will be subject to continuous review;
- The Ministry of Health and Wellness continues to ensure that there are appropriate human and financial resources deployed in the COVID-19 efforts. We have deployed the Cuban nurses and Community Liaison Officers in swabbing, inspecting properties and contact tracing. Additional resources are also being obtained to be deployed to support testing at the Grantley Adams International Airport
- The Ministry is working closely with private sector agencies to expand the availability of PCR COVID testing in the private sector for those willing to pay for such a service;
The Ministry of Health and Wellness will continue to engage and work with our partners to ensure the health and wellness of every Barbadian.