Barbadians have been assured that the island is not encountering any resource problems in relation to its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
This assurance came today from Minister of Health and Wellness, Jeffrey Bostic, as he addressed a query posed by the media during a press conference, chaired by Prime Minister, Mia Amor Mottley, at Ilaro Court.
Minister Bostic, in responding to whether there were serious challenges in terms of resources and if Government was in a position to increase resources for both the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit and the Ministry of Health and Wellness as it fights the Delta variant of the disease, emphasised the country had no problem with its resources, at this point in time.
He stated: “Yes, we have had challenges, no doubt about that; but that is the nature of the war; what we are doing at the moment is rationalising our operations to see if we are effectively utilising the resources that we have and also improving in the area of technology.
“I can assure you that if I need additional numbers [that] I will get them, once I put the case to the Ministry of Finance but at this point in time we are not worried about resources except for the nurses and the clinical side of it, like all other countries, given the number of positive cases and sick persons that we have been seeing, that is challenging at the moment but we are still managing.”
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, reinforcing this point, noted that at no stage had the Ministry of Finance ever refused a request from the Ministry of Health and Wellness for resources. Moreover, she added: “Once they have come to us, whether it is personnel or money, we have responded with dispatch.”
Meanwhile, the two officials also provided an update on the new variant, Mu. The Health Minister, while acknowledging that Mu was considered “a variant of interest”, noted that Delta and Alpha, which were both prevalent here, were “variants of concern”. Elaborating, he stressed: “I am just trying to say to you that right now, the fight is against Delta in this country.”
Adding to the information, Prime Minister Mottley, disclosed that advice from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) stated that they (CARPHA) were seeing a virus they could not initially identify, at first, and once PAHO [Pan American Health Organization] stated that it was Mu, “in truth and in fact, it has been in the region since June”.
Noting that the Mu variant may be present in Barbados, Ms. Mottley emphasised: “We just don’t have the confirmation yet. So, I want Jeffrey’s [Minister Jeffrey Bostic’s] answer to be contextualised because against the backdrop of which CARPHA spoke this morning. When they meet with the labs they may well find now that where the reports would say ‘unidentified’, the assumption was that it was Delta all along, but they may well have to refine those assertions. So, we may well have it, we don’t know.”