Barbados COVID-19 Czar says the measures implemented to stave off the rampant spread of the highly contagious virus are “bearing fruit”.
But Richard Carter admits that though Barbados has seen a reduced number of new cases of COVID-19 in the last few weeks, it is possible some infected persons may have so far, not been captured by Government’s best efforts.
“The average over the last two weeks has been maybe two or so cases per day so we haven’t been seeing any huge flare up in terms of the number of cases, but we suspect that we are not necessarily capturing every possible case that is out there and every case that is not captured by the system is a potential reservoir for further infection,” he admitted.
Though pleased with the successes, the Czar maintained that Government could not rest on its laurels as the situation could change at any time.
According to Carter it is impossible to predict what level of threat COVID-19 would pose to the country by May 4.
“Nobody knows, that’s the truth. So far, the surveillance has been working well and we have been seeing zero to three cases per day.
“We can’t predict what the situation will be like at May 4 when the current period of restriction ends or the next period of restriction ends, it’s impossible to predict that. But we are confident that the measures that we have been putting in place have been bearing fruit in terms of helping us to identify cases of contact tracing.”
Carter said there were still no signs of community transmission but he admitted, “That can change tomorrow in terms of cases that we are not aware of, turning up in our system.”
Regarding the Government-ordered shutdown, Carter said it was highly unlikely that Government would have contemplated shutting the country down completely, including closing all supermarkets.
Such a decision would have been counterproductive, he said.
Prior to Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s address to the nation on Saturday night, speculation was rife that a total lockdown of the country was imminent as part of efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Instead Mottley announced the extension of the 24-hour curfew to midnight May 3 and advised that supermarkets would be reopening tomorrow and persons would be allowed to shop by surname in alphabetical order.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY this afternoon, Carter pointed out that Cabinet had met and decided on the new initiatives.
“The decisions at that level are made by the Cabinet of Barbados and I am not a member of the Cabinet as you know,” he said.
However, Carter said shutting supermarkets for an extended period as part of a lockdown would have been a grave mistake.
He said history had shown that denying people access to food created numerous problems.
“Let me say however, that the idea of a total shutdown I don’t believe that would have been considered because while that might address a public health issue of keeping people apart it creates the socioeconomic problem of people not having food.
“There’s a lot of history as to what happens when people cannot eat and none of that history is good,” the Czar insisted.