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Changes to COVID protocols as emergency directive ends

Changes to COVID protocols as emergency directive ends
Chief Medical Officer The Most Honourable Dr Kenneth George (FILE)

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The Ministry of Health and Wellness has announced that the current COVID-19 Emergency Management Order and its attendant Directives will come to an end on Wednesday, December 21, 2022.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. The Most Honourable Kenneth George, explained that after consultation with the Emergency Operations Centre, it was agreed that there is no longer a requirement for legislation to guide protocols for prevention and control of COVID-19 in Barbados.

This decision was taken after assessing the local, regional and international evidence, which was collated over the last two-and-a-half years.

The CMO further stated that the Ministry of Health and Wellness had always promoted personal responsibility as a means of reducing spread and infection and added that this continues to be a necessary measure.

He explained that the most vulnerable groups in the population were people 65 years and older and those with non-communicable diseases, as well as other underlying illnesses and particularly those who are immunocompromised.

“Individuals are reminded to continue to use personal protection, especially if they fall into these categories. Residents of Barbados must be aware that mask wearing, physical distancing, hand sanitisation and vaccination, remain appropriate actions to protect them and their families.  For persons who test positive, isolation remains a most effective public health intervention.  Therefore, if you test positive for COVID-19 you are expected to remain at home unless you have to be admitted to a medical facility for care,” he emphasised.

George also reminded members of the public that admittance to particular establishments such as health care institutions, will be guided by the institutional policy of the particular establishment. This, he said, may include the requirement for mask wearing and hand sanitisation.

He added that after examining the local levels of spread with respect to schools and other educational institutions, mask wearing would now be optional, and not mandatory, as was the case with the previous Directive.  Furthermore, wearing masks will also be optional for people travelling on public service vehicles.

The Chief Medical Officer assured the public that health authorities would continue its due diligence and monitor the COVID-19 pandemic during Christmas and into the New Year. (PR)