Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley updates the nation on COVID-19 and government’s plan on dealing with the virus. The press briefing took place at the Hilton following a meeting with the Social Partnership. (BGIS)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley yesterday announced several measures that Government has put in place to respond to the threat of COVID-19, coincidentally on the same day that Jamaica recorded the first confirmed case of the virus within CARICOM.  These measures include:

  • The appointment of Richard Carter as the Czar with responsibility for coordinating the national response.  Mr. Carter, who will be based in the Prime Minister’s Office, was responsible for leading the outreach effort to Sierra Leone for Ebola in 2014.
  • The appointment of Dr. Corey Forde as Isolation Facilities Manager.  Dr. Forde’s substantive post is Head of the Infectious Disease Programme at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
  • The appointment of Alvin Hart as Quarantine Facilities Manager.  Mr. Hart is an Infection Control Officer at the Geriatric Hospital, and was also a member of the response team in Sierra Leone for Ebola in 2014.
  • No-one suspected to have COVID-19 will be sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.  Barbados’ lone acute care facility will be insulated from dealing with the virus.
  • Quarantine facilities have been established at the St. Lucy District Hospital and the Elayne Scantlebury Centre, River Bay, St. Lucy, with the capacity for 40 beds.
  • The Paragon Base in Christ Church has been readied and has capacity for between 250 and 280 quarantine beds.  If it becomes necessary to use this facility, the Barbados YouthADVANCE Corps residential programme, which is based there, will be suspended.
  • Buildings at Harrison’s Point, St. Lucy, are being renovated to house a quarantine centre to accommodate between 120 and 140 beds, and an isolation facility with the capacity for 56 beds; 20 of which will be equipped with ventilators for more severe patients.
  • Two portable dialysis machines will be purchased and placed at the Elayne Scantlebury Centre for anyone in quarantine who may be on dialysis.
  • Parliament yesterday voted for an $8.8 million supplementary to provide furniture and other equipment for the Harrison’s Point facility.  Government is currently awaiting final costings for the capital refurbishment programme there.
  • There are two shifts working seven days a week at Harrison’s Point to have these facilities up and running as soon as possible.
  • The Isolation Facility at Enmore is ready, and has the capacity for six beds.
  • The Medical Field Hospital at the Barbados Defence Force has the capacity for 40 isolation beds.
  • Total isolation capacity will stand at 102 beds.
  • The National Security Council has moved to an Augmented National Security Council (ANASEC) to bring together all of the key ministries and officials to work on the frontlines of protecting Barbados against the threat.

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