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House-to-house testing during lockdown

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House-to-house testing during lockdown
Prime Minister Mia Mottley. (GP)

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During the lockdown period, Ministry of Health personnel will be going from house to house to test Barbadians using the rapid antigen test for COVID-19.

With three recent deaths of elderly Barbadians and confirmation of community spread of the virus in the island, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley told the country on Tuesday night that this house-to-house health initiative was absolutely necessary in order to save lives.

“This lockdown is going to be necessary to give ourselves a chance to go into the community house by house and do systematic household testing,” she said.

Mottley said she had consulted with medical personnel about the widespread testing.

“Doctors have represented to us that the earlier you can find persons in households who are symptomatic the better their chance of recovery,” she said, adding that the three people who recently died came too late to get medical attention.

She revealed that Dr Jerome Walcott, chairman of the Cabinet’s COVID-19 sub-committee, will be in charge of planning the team. The University of the West Indies will be assisting with the initiative.

She said not everyone in a household would be tested but the team would use the questionnaire which is already being used by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and individuals who display COVID-19 symptoms would be tested.

Individuals testing positive would be “picked out of the community and taken for treatment immediately”, the Prime Minister said.

The programme will utilise the 300 polling districts, which Mottley acknowledged was the “best organising principle in the island”. She said at least 300 people would be going into the communities “on a parallel track so that over the course of ten to 12 days we are able to get into as many households as possible”.

“We have to wage a war on COVID and that is one of reasons why we don’t want people on the road moving about,” the Prime Minister said, adding that the antigen test was 98 per cent accurate.

She said more details about the house-to-house health check initiative would be given in the coming days. (MB)