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Ministry of Health activates Stage 1 of COVID-19 response


Ministry of Health activates Stage 1 of COVID-19 response

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The Government of Barbados has activated the Stage 1 response to the COVID-19 coronavirus after the first two cases were confirmed here.

In urging members of the public not to panic, Minister of Health Jeffrey Bostic said at this stage “the primary focus is containment to prevent community spread”.

“As Minister of Health and Wellness in Barbados, I am committed to doing all in my power to protect the health and ensure the safety of every person resident here. I therefore want to assure the public that there is no need for panic. This is the time for vigilance and being our brother’s keeper,” he said in a national address.

The positive tests were confirmed this morning by the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory.

The two patients are a 39-year-old Barbadian woman and a 48-year-old American, both of whom came to the island from the United States. They have been quarantined and Government has started tracing anyone who may have come in contact with them.

In his address, Bostic announced the following measures are now in place:

•        All public gatherings such as sporting and cultural events or any event that attracts crowds will be restricted to 100 persons.

•        Visits by members of the public to all public and private geriatric institutions are suspended until further notice.

•        Visits to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital are restricted to protect elderly patients as well as those suffering with non-communicable diseases.

•        The Isolation Centre at Enmore has been stood up with six isolation beds and quarantine facilities are in place at the Paragon Base in Christ Church and the Elayne Scantlebury Centre, River Bay, St Lucy. Additionally, quarantine and isolation facilities will be available at Harrison’s Point within weeks.

•        The Barbados Defence Force’s Field Medical Facility has also been set up to provide additional screening, quarantine and isolation services.

Bostic also reiterated the public health practices to curb spread of the virus.

•        Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water; alternatively, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

•        Practise social distancing, that is, maintain at least one metre or 3 feet between yourself and anyone who is visibly ill with who is coughing or sneezing.

•        Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose.

•        Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when you cough or sneeze or do so into your bent elbow

•        If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, especially if you were in an affected region within the previous 14 days or think you may have been in contact with someone who was, call your healthcare provider, the nearest polyclinic or the Ministry’s COVID-19 hotline for advice.

The hotline’s number is 536-4500. (BGIS/SAT)