Government ends routine quarantine for COVID control

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is advising the public that there is no more routine quarantine for people who are potentially exposed to COVID-19.

Since the start of the pandemic, quarantine, along with other related measures, such as case identification, contact tracing and isolation, has long been a standard procedure to assist in the control of COVID. However, since the inception of Omicron, the practice of routine quarantine has not been utilised nor advised.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Anton Best, explained that due to the highly infectious nature of the Omicron variant, plus its reduced virulence (or disease severity) routine quarantine would not have been manageable by the public health officials at the polyclinics. He further stated that it would also have been too disruptive.

He also explained that due to the suite of mitigation strategies, such as physical distancing, hand hygiene and mask wearing, that the absence of routine quarantine would not be detrimental to the success of the national response to COVID-19. And it hasn’t!

Quarantining will only be required in select circumstances, such as in the case of unvaccinated travellers arriving into Barbados. Those who must quarantine, must do so for three complete days and exit quarantine on receipt of negative COVID-19 PCR test results on the fourth day.

The health officials are encouraging individuals who share homes with positive people to use all measures, such as physical distancing, masking, sanitising and good ventilation, to reduce the risk of others getting COVID in the home.

If the infected person is an individual who requires regular care, such as a young child or the elderly, the caregiver will need to quarantine under the guidance of public health officials.

People in the workplace who have become exposed are not required to quarantine. They are advised to get a Rapid Antigen Test on becoming aware of their exposure and then follow up with a PCR Test after three days have passed to confirm that they are negative.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness advises against routine closures and industrial cleanings after possible COVID exposure, whether from an employee or client. Strict adherence to prevention protocols at the work place are highly recommended.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness will continue to closely monitor the COVID situation on island and make recommendations for changes in protocols and control measures as trends change and as required. (BGIS)

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