No curfew or lockdown as COVID cases rise

Barbados has recorded just over 1 800 new COVID-19 cases over the last eight days, but there are no plans to shut down the country or put a curfew in place.

Minister of Health and Wellness Ian Gooding-Edghill again stated Barbadians would have to learn to live with COVID-19, and dealing with these periodic spikes in cases was part of the process.

He was speaking on Tuesday evening during a media conference which included Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Anton Best; Head of Isolation Facilities, The Most Honourable Dr Corey Best; and Head of Home Isolation, Dr Adanna Grandison.

“As a responsible ministry, we will continue to monitor the scientific data and make the appropriate interventions to manage this public health situation,” the Minister said. “We are not going to reverse any of the measures that we have implemented because there is no need to, and therefore, no curfews and no lockdowns are necessary.”

Gooding-Edghill said the increase in cases was likely linked to the BA2 Omicron sub-variant which is said to be transmissible than BA1 by 50 to 80 per cent and has been contributing to the global transmission of COVID-19 over the past two or three weeks.

“The core of our battle remains personal responsibility which continues to be the key in maintaining control of the COVID situation and reducing the positivity rates.”

The positivity rate is about 25 per cent, virtually doubling during the latest spike.

The minister said they did not view this latest incident as a setback and said vaccination and being boosted remained the best defence against severe illness, hospitalisation and death. Adherence to the public health protocols, including the wearing of masks, was also reinforced.

Best said they determined the rise in cases started around March 28.

The COVID-10 dashboard for March 27 showed 102 new cases, but that jumped to 228 the following day. On April 3, new cases stood at 222, but increased to 432 the next day, prompting the need for health officials to address the country.

And while the increase in numbers can be clearly traced, Best, in response to a question from the media, said there was no definitive link to the Test match between West Indies and England which was held at Kensington Oval one week prior to the uptick in numbers.

“We have not made a link to any of the events, any of the circumstances in Barbados. It is reasonable to assume that there may be some contribution from different events but that is an assumption so far. It is not a hypothesis that we have taken into consideration and have studied,” Best said.

“Contact tracing is nothing that we currently do. We have not been doing routine contact tracing for quite some time and we have no evidence to suggest that there is a link between the increase in the cases and the cricket that you would have mentioned.”

Forde said there were 75 people (23 males and 52 females) in isolation, including ten in the primary facility, seven of whom needed some type of oxygen or ventilation support.

Grandison said there were just over 2 000 people in home isolation, and while most remained in the green category, the number in the yellow was increasing. She urged vaccination to help reduce the complications associated with long COVID.

Asthmatics were also advised to get their medication and Grandison said while people wanted to find out their status, the official PCR test was preferred to a rapid test, so those who were positive could be expedited through the system and receive the appropriate treatment. (SAT)

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