Monday 30 November, 2020

Barbados was ahead of first world countries with second test protocol

Prime Minister Mia Mottley (FILE)

Prime Minister Mia Mottley (FILE)

Prime Minister Mia Mottley is well pleased that Barbados' decision to issue mandatory second tests from an early o'clock has proven itself.

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Despite the uproar and backlash in some quarters that it was asking too much of visitors and citizens returning home, the government and Ministry of Health stook to its guns, and on Sunday as England talked about a second lockdown and the CARICOM Travel Bubble popped, Barbados' leader said that she has no regrets about the way and time they introduced a second test requirement.

Watching places go into second lockdowns and some not reopening yet since their first lockdowns, Mottley said that Barbados' Chief Medical Officer and Minister of Health "took a lot of licks" for adding the second test rule. She said we were saying "Don't mind that yuh come with a PCR test but we gine still do a second test.

"Well, I have lived to see. . ."

Mottley said that in the early days after reopening to commercial flights back in August, she set up a meeting with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and health officials locally to discuss what was best to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the new travel phase. "So it has worked well for us with people coming from the US and the UK and Canada, and that is why day by day you hear the Ministry of Health telling you about people who may now be testing positive on the second test."

And she said not 90 per cent, but "95 per cent of the people testing positive in Barbados are testing positive on the second test.

"Can you imagine if your government did not put that requirement for the second test in place what would happen in Barbados tonight? . . . And let us be clear, there are not a lot of countries that put the second test in place. But we are now hearing that in New York they are going to require a second test, and that in UK they too will now consider putting a second test in place, but your little Barbados had it in place for the last few months."

Mottley said that Barbados took hard decisions well in advance.

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"When COVID-19 broke and we realised at the beginning of January, not down the line, I asked Jeffrey Bostic to stand up his team and because we were able to take early corrective and preemptive action, we have been in a position to literally hold it down. You have heard me say that I don't believe in boasting about our record with COVID because I am conscious that it is eternal vigilance that is required and that it is the actions of each and every one of us that will protect each other."

Therefore, she urged, let us not get arrogant and drop our guard now.

"My friends, I like Jeffrey feel they should be no retreat and no surrender, but I also know that the only way there can be no retreat and no surrender is when each and every one of us plays our part. It also means that the protocols have to be observed and we ask you to please wear your masks. This thing does not play. Pull it up!"

Mottley said that Barbados has limited COVID-19-related deaths to seven and she knocked on wood saying that this takes everyone following the rules to "keep those numbers on down".

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