Statement by the acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George, regarding quarantine breaches.
It has been drawn to the attention of the Ministry of Health and Wellness that a number of persons who have been ordered into COVID-19 quarantine have been breaching that order.
The Ministry has received at least four recent reports of persons, both locals and visitors to the island, leaving the approved quarantine facility without the permission of the Chief Medical Officer.
I wish to issue a strong warning to everyone who has been placed in quarantine in Barbados that this practice will not be tolerated, and when identified, abusers will be brought before the courts and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Quarantine is a means of separating persons from the general population who may have been exposed to COVID-19, but who are not showing signs of disease.
It is mandatory for all persons arriving in Barbados from countries categorised as high risk to go into quarantine for a period of four to five days from the receipt of their first valid negative COVID-19 PCR test. At the end of the period, they are retested and if they continue to be negative for the virus are discharged from quarantine.
The practice of quarantine is a well-accepted public health measure to control and limit the spread of disease. Persons in quarantine are prohibited from leaving the quarantine facility, accepting visitors, or mixing with the public.
Persons in breach in any of the above stipulations will, on summary conviction, be subject to a fine of BDS $50,000, imprisonment for one year, or both.
Barbados has been very successful so far in keeping COVID-19 out of our general population, due in no small measure to the cooperation and responsible behaviour of residents.
I appeal to both residents and visitors to our shores to continue to adhere to the public health protocols in place to ensure the well-being of everyone, and to report any breaches of these protocols that come to your attention.