As Government braces for the “inevitable” arrival of the COVID-19 variant Omicron, Minister of Health and Wellness, The Most Honourable Jeffrey Bostic, is urging people to go back to the basics and take individual responsibility for their safety and that of the community.
Speaking during a virtual media conference on Monday in which he also addressed some longstanding issues affecting nurses, Bostic said Barbadians needed to “start from scratch” by wearing masks, sanitising and social distancing.
“We are preparing ourselves for the inevitable and I say inevitable, not to throw cold water on your Christmas preparations and so on, but to face some reality.
“And the reality is that it will find itself in our region in the coming weeks or months. This region, the CARICOM region, will have to face this variant.”
Bostic said although the positivity rate was now declining, the numbers would continue to rise and they could possibly be higher than those associated with the Delta variant “but we have faced things before and we will continue to deal with what is coming”.
As such, the onus was on each person to play their part.
“We can’t stop it from coming this way, but we can do things to help us cushion the blow,” he said, urging people to protect themselves, their families and the community, especially the elderly.
Omicron was first discovered by South African scientists and while it is said to be more contagious than Delta, emerging evidence suggests the symptoms may also be milder.
The Health Minister said Government continued to monitor in conjunction with partners at the Pan-American and World Health Organisations, and health officials were working around the clock to “put everything in place to navigate the seas ahead”. (SAT)