UPDATES: Press conference April 16, 2021
Minister of Home Affairs Wilfred Abrahams is hosting a Press Conference today to provide a COVID-19 update and National Clean-up update.
Abrahams will be joined by Minister of Tourism Lisa Cummins; Minister of Health Jeffrey Bostic; Director of The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, Erouscilla Joseph; and Senior Veterinary Officer Dr Mark Trotman. (PR)
Minister of Home Affairs Wilfred Abrahams
- Most massive emergency cleaning campaign in the history of Barbados.
- Trying to open up major installations to try to get country back up and running.
- Trying to get airport and seaport open because they are closed, Barbados is cut off and cannot get basic supplies into the country.
- Closed airport means RSS plane cannot land and unable to send samples to CARPHA because of closure of airspace.
- Trucks brought to the airport drove over runway to try to break up the dust that had hardened on the surface.
- Plenty of equipment has been moved to the airport to try to get the runaway and the airport clean.
- Using seawater to wash as many things as we could, used seawater to clean Bridgetown and highways.
- Runway cleaned with treated water from the Bridgetown and Coverley sewage plant, minimal water used to clean up the airport.
Minister of Health Jeffrey Bostic
- 576 COVID-19 tests on Thursday.
- 12 positives – four males, eight females.
- Positivity rate of less than 3 per cent.
- Eight people released today.
- Three people were already at Harrison Point Isolation Facility.
- The nine other cases related to church cluster from the north.
- Church cluster occupying much of the time of Ministry of Health and Wellness.
- People not contacted because ministry do not know about them or have been unable to find them.
- Appeals for people attached to the church to come forward to be tested.
- Advised to present to Wildey gymnasium testing site.
- Aggressively pursuing church cluster.
- Do not have all the information to indicate numbers outstanding.
- Very closely investigating and monitoring.
- Leadership of church in quarantine.
- Focus to get people tested to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins
- Airspace has been given all-clear and airport will reopen at six this evening.
- Airlines have been told and flights expected to start tomorrow.
- Humanitarian flights can use Barbados as a landing site to move items into St Vincent.
- Continuous maintenance will be put in place to make it safe for staff and planes.
- Emphasis on humanitarian support.
- Regional Security System will fly supplies into St Vincent tonight.
- Tomorrow five to six flights expected.
- Numbers are small here, but flight traffic expected both ways.
- Airport will be busy over the next few days.
- Met 60 tour operators today.
- Between now and May 8, Barbados will be able to reopen for vaccinated passengers.
- From May to July, demand is lukewarm because of the combination of factors put in place by governments in source markets and protocols here.
- US market will see strong demand.
- Long period earthquakes, indicating magma is moving around.
- Low level tremors lasted 40 mins last night.
- Yesterday, UWI SRC had first measurement of sulphur dioxide flux in the ash plume being generated, additional tool to monitor changes in the volcanic activity.
- Seeing a pattern of deflation, which means everything in the volcano is trying to get out.
- Volcano still erupting, explosive activity diminishing, but does not mean event is over.
- Not seeing activity that will lead to ash plumes that will carry over to Barbados.
Dr Mark Trotman
- Ash is toxic and creating respiratory problems for many animals.
- Keep animals away from ash and be careful what they put in their mouth.
- Grazing animals susceptible.
- Long-term effects will come in due course and farmers must be aware.
- Make sure feed and water are clean when animals consuming.
- Analytical tests being done to see what the composition of the ash.
- Need to know number of livestock in Barbados.
- Farmers must contact Barbados Agricultural Society to help Ministry of Agriculture to understand what needs are.