COVID-19: With person-to-person transmissions, Barbados is at Stage 2
Barbados' number of confirmed cases moved from six to fourteen overnight and the country transitioned to Stage 2 in its COVID-19 response and management.
Sharing this news was Dr Anton Best.
The Acting Chief Medical Officer addressed the nation from Ilaro Court (March 21) saying:
"We are actually now at Stage 2 with human to human transmission as evidenced by the contact tracing that we did."
COVID-19 Czar Richard Carter reminded that each stage from zero to four, has specific recommendations in terms of working to contain the threat of COVID-19.
"We have moved to Stage 2, which is a stage categorised by in-country transmission. So a number of the cases that have tested positive, they have no travel history and are associated with cases that have been imported.
"Stage 2 means that we now move beyond the simple guidance that we had issued in relation to gathering. The recommendation now coming from the government of Barbados and from the Public Health officials is that we limit the gathering of persons to no more than 25 persons. This is recreation gatherings and gatherings in relation to non-essential services."
He urged though that because of the new guidelines, everything will not come to a stop.
"The expectation of the government of Barbados obviously is that there are essential services that will still need to continue. People will still need to go to work. People will still need to conduct the businesses that are related to delivering essential services to Barbados."
Asked about policing the public gatherings to ensure compliance, Carter said that this calls for Barbadians to take the pandemic seriously and work in ways to preserve their health.
He said the Ministry and all Barbadians are appealing and banking on "reasoned and reasonable" responses from the masses.
"We have come to this point in our history through the level of dedication and commitment that Barbadians have given to following public order. We have always been an ordered country, an ordered and disciplined country and in fact we attract criticism from elsewhere because of the public discipline that we have exhibited in the conduct of our affairs."
Carter stressed, "We are facing a public health emergency. We are facing a global pandemic. If the instruction is given, if the advice is given that one of the measures to protect ourselves and to respond to that lies in avoiding mass gatherings of 25 persons, and that is the advice that is given, then we expect people to self-police. In other words, to adhere to the guidance that has been given."
However, "if it becomes necessary," Barbados has laws and legislation that can be enforced if persons disobey the guidelines as the officials take the health of the entire nation into consideration. Adamantly, Carter stated, that if a situation of such disobedience or noncompliance does arise, "those additional powers will be invoked in order to ensure compliance."