An address to the Nation by the Honourable Mia Amor Mottely, the Prime Minister of Barbados, broke the news of new measures in light of new developments related to the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The Prime Minister says the last minute restrictions are being imposed to allow the Health Ministry to carry out contract tracing and testing effectively, so that any break out which may exist can be contained.
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“From this very room earlier this year I told the country that we know what we have to do as a nation together to get through COVID. It remains critical that we stay focused and do, and believe, that each of us is going to have to take action to protect every person around us,” said Mottely.
The Prime Minister said that the origins of new cases are not known, whether they be imported or community spread and for that reason “the time has come for the country to go on pause for a little bit.”
Two prison officers have tested positive in recent hours, a development which Mottley says “has clearly put us at risk of a difficult situation and potential transfer within the prison system. Therefore in full agreement with the approach by the Ministry of Health, that would allow all persons at the prison to be tested whether they are prisoner, prison officer, civilian staff, to be tested within the next 48 hours and thereafter to be tested again five days later.”
“We are not yet at panic stage, but we are at the stage of firm decisions and firm actions being taken.”
“We are now going to take action to protect the vital interest of Barbadians, our guest, and indeed our country.”
Effective immediately, Barbados has implemented a curfew from midnight to 5am from the 31st of December until the 14th of January. There will be no commercial fetes and gatherings are discouraged, with Mottley appealing to Barbadians to stay in their family bubble or in a bubble with a small group of friends.
In addition, Monday and Tuesday are now declared bank holidays but people are asked to stay home so that public health officials can work under a ‘paused Barbados’ to carry out contract tracing.
The Prime Minister said fortunately, the country is more than prepared and that there are plenty of hospital beds available, as well as the necessary number of doctors and nurses. The country hopes to receive vaccines by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
Mottley ended by wishing the nation a happy new year and asked that all apply the lessons of 2020 and ensure respect for the health of all in society.