COVID-19: Press Conference – March 13, 2021 (PMO)

Barbadians are once again being cautioned against becoming complacent, despite the easing of restrictions from tomorrow, Monday, March 15, and the decline in the COVID-19 positivity rate to less than five per cent.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Chairman of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on COVID-19, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, said while the recent public health statistics have shown a “good trend”, people must continue to follow the protocols set out by the Ministry of Health and Wellness at all times.

His advice came as he shared the statistics of the latest COVID-19 update during a press conference, last evening.

“The trend is in the direction which we would like it to be in, [but] clearly, we are not out of the woods.  There’s been an easing in restrictions and the curfew, but we need to be ever vigilant, we need to follow protocols,” Minister Walcott stressed.

As it relates to the communities classified as COVID-19 hotspots, he said public health authorities had adopted a targeted approach to deal with the situation. This included  conducting surveys and assessments of households, as well as testing of both primary contacts and other persons in the affected area.

Persons in these heavily impacted districts were also being offered the COVID-19 vaccine, after being educated about its use and importance.

The Chairman of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on COVID-19 added that while small clusters had been discovered in some areas, the Ministry of Health and Wellness was “satisfied that they [were] on top of it, in terms of contact tracing”.

Senator Walcott also provided a brief update on the outbreak of the virus at the island’s premier health care facility, stating: “The Queen Elizabeth Hospital still continues to have some cases, both among the staff and patients …. The issue there was with the kitchen staff and I believe that situation is now under control.”

Cases of the viral illness were also detected at the Geriatric Hospital and some nursing homes earlier this year, and he said this situation had since “settled”.

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