Minister of Health and Wellness Ian Gooding-Edghill confirmed this evening that the BA.2 Omicron sub-variant of coronavirus (COVID-19) is present in Barbados.
Gooding-Edghill said that 90 per cent of the samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad were positive for the BA.2 variant, which is highly contagious, but which does not generally lead to serious illness.
He noted: “As we head into our long Easter weekend, I once again advise that the tightening of any of the protocols is not being considered but, at the same time, I am sure that Barbadians as a whole will practise restraint, discipline and moderation with their social activities and interactions over the next few days.
“Our records show that since March 28, 5 104 new infections were detected,” Gooding-Edghill said.
“The increase in the positivity rate started on March 28, 2022, and according to today’s dashboard for April 13, the Ministry of Health and Wellness recorded 428 new cases of COVID-19 out of 1 357 samples tested. This represents an unfortunate record high of a 28 per cent positivity rate. This is in keeping with science that shows that the more COVID spreads, the higher the positivity rate will be.”
The Omicron sub-variant BA.2 is reportedly more transmissible than BA.1 by 50-80 per cent and this has been attributed to the increased transmission of COVID-19 globally, Gooding-Edghill said.
“Be assured that we have the experience and the scientific tools to help us properly manage the impact of COVID-19.
“I wish to assure that we have been planning for this phase and, over the last two years, we have learnt and improved our techniques to address what is happening in the community,” he added.
The minister urged Barbadians to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and to get the booster shots where applicable. He also repeated calls to observe the protocols such as mask wearing, social distancing, proper hand hygiene and ventilation.