Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley is calling all Barbadians to fight as one nation against the expected surge in cases of the Omicron variant in the coming weeks.
She made the appeal this evening during a COVID-19 update at Ilaro Court, as health officials released the findings of a University of the West Indies’ modelling statistical exercise that gave scenarios based on variables about the likely disease burden in Barbados when Omicron arrives.
The modelling showed a wave lasting six to seven weeks, with a worst case scenario of 3,500 cases per day at its peak, and a total of 91,000 cases, or a shorter wave of a month with 1,200 cases a day and a caseload of 23,000 cases.
The hospitalisation rate of persons infected with the Omicron variant for a maximum of seven days in the best case scenario is 1.2 per cent, while in the worst case scenario, the hospitalisation rate would be three per cent, or about 700 cases at the peak of the wave.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that although forecasts don’t “always necessarily come true”, but it was Government’s view that it needed to be frank and share with Barbadians at all times what was known, and what it was “planning for”.
Ms. Mottley contended that the modelling helped Government to be prepared for the worst while hoping for the best, by putting a dedicated facility in place – Harrison’s Point – to deal with COVID-19 cases, which had served the country well.
“Our strength in this pandemic has been our ability to plan…. Our strength in this pandemic has been our ability to communicate. Our strength in this pandemic has been to build partnerships with Barbadians, regardless of where they are, because we recognise that no single entity can solve this problem or can fight back this problem,” she stated.
Ms. Mottley continued: “And that is why Minister Bostic has continued always with the rallying call of ‘no retreat and no surrender’ because we need Barbadians wherever they are to join us, in terms of their individual behaviour and the personal responsibility that they exhibit to minimise the extent to which this virus can run through this society.”
The Prime Minister urged Barbadians to get vaccinated, and for those who had already received the first two shots more than six months ago, to get their boosters.
Ms. Mottley also reminded the population to wear their face masks, sanitise, maintain their social distance and refrain from mixing and mingling if they are COVID-19 positive.