Despite daily rumours being spread, largely through social media, of cases of COVID-19 in Barbados, the Ministry of Health and Wellness today reiterated that no-one has tested positive for the respiratory illness so far.
Since January 26, 162 people arriving in Barbados from affected areas have been placed in home quarantine for a period of 14 days. Today, there are 42 people in quarantine.
No-one exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 – cough, fever or breathlessness – is placed in quarantine, and if these symptoms occur while in quarantine, the person will be isolated and tested. Anyone arriving in Barbados exhibiting symptoms will be placed in isolation immediately.
All the tests conducted at the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory so far have been negative.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, in an address to the nation on Tuesday, warned against spreading false information about the viral illness, which was today declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.
Ms. Mottley said: “The epidemic of rumour is worse than the epidemic of the virus. The epidemic of panic is worse than the epidemic of the virus.”
She said that the arrangements being put in place to deal with the public health threat were guided by three principles … “that we must seek first to stop transmission and prevent spread; and if that doesn’t work, we must then slow transmission and prevent spread; and finally Plan C is to slow transmission and reduce impact”.
She added: “That clarity of thought, clarity of decision-making and clarity of communication are absolutely critical if we are to look back at this moment in time and the days and weeks that will follow to ensure that we come out as unscathed as possible, first in the protection of human life and then in the protection of quality of life.”