EDITORIAL - Take necessary precautions

Earlier this week, it was announced that Barbados was at Stage 1 of its National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, after recording its first two confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Just yesterday, the news came directly from Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley that Barbados had recorded another three cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of confirmed cases to a total of five.

It has been acknowledged that the majority of individuals who become infected by the coronavirus experience mild illness and eventually recover. However, for others in a more vulnerable category, it can be quite severe and even fatal. Thus, we need to do all in our power as a nation to avoid the spread of the virus and as individuals to avoid catching it.

According to Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic, with Stage 1 of our National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, the primary focus is on containment, to prevent community spread. As such, he explained that a number of measures have been implemented with immediate effect, in keeping with the first stage of this plan.

“All public gatherings such as sporting and cultural events or any event that attracts crowds will be restricted to 100 persons. Visits by members of the public to all public and private geriatric institutions are suspended until further notice. Visits to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital are restricted to protect elderly patients as well as those suffering with non-communicable diseases,” he outlined.

Therefore, the public should adhere to these measures and guidelines and not take things for granted.

The Health Minister meanwhile has given advice to Barbadians about the precautions necessary to avoid the spread of COVID-19, and these should be adhered to as well.

He said, “We must all play our part by being vigilant about putting into practice the public health advice that you must now be very familiar with. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water; alternatively, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Practice social distancing, that is, maintain at least one metre or three feet between yourself and anyone who is visibly ill, who is coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when you cough or sneeze or do so into your bent elbow.”

Further, “If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, especially if you were in an affected region within the previous 14 days or think you may have been in contact with someone
who was, call your healthcare provider, the nearest polyclinic or the Ministry’s COVID-19 hotline for advice. The hotline’s number is 536-4500.”

Given that there is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available for the coronavirus, we as Barbadians need to take all necessary precautions to ensure that we stay safe. We should have a chat with our children as well, so they too are up to date and informed about all there is to known about COVID-19.

Now is not time to be carefree with our health.

Barbados Advocate

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