In response to 24 imported cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Barbados last weekend, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said today that authorities were fully aware that once the borders were reopened that this could happen.
Speaking during a press conference at Ilaro Court, she, however, assured residents of Barbados that the measures being taken at the ports of entry protected the interests of all Barbadians and everyone in the island because of “the rigorousness of the testing”.
Acknowledging that there will be spikes from time to time, the Prime Minister stressed that what was important were the measures being put in place to contain them … “to isolate the persons who may be positive and to do the relevant contact tracing to minimise the extent to which this can move through our country”.
“We continue to use the gold standard PCR test; we continue, where necessary, to double test to ensure where there is doubt that we literally test again to ensure that there is clarity as to the status of that person.”
Furthermore, she stated, the isolation facility at Harrison Point, St Lucy, and the quarantine facilities at Paragon, Christ Church, and the St. Lucy District Hospital were fully equipped to meet the demands of the public health threat.
The Prime Minister, however, reminded the populace of the need for continued vigilance.
“Our reality is that we cannot stay closed and that as we open up, we manage the risk that we take in, the same way that we manage the risk that we take in crossing the road or in lighting a fire or a stove or all of the other things that we do in the course of life.”
Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic, who joined the press conference via Zoom, noted that from the beginning, Government made it clear that the COVID-19 situation was one in which Government did not have all the resources “to plug all the gaps”.
Therefore, he maintained: “We have to take some risks. The risks are not reckless in any way, but the ability of the team to manage the risks is what is important and that is what we have been doing.”
Assuring Barbadians that his Ministry was on top of the situation, he stated: “The protocols that are in place have been working very well, doing exactly what they have been designed to do, and we will continue to manage this wisely.”