Health Minister pleads with residents to stay home

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Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic said this weekend’s lockdown was a success, however, he is pleading with Barbadians to remain home unless absolutely necessary, even after the stay-at-home order is lifted at 6 am on Monday.

In a televised address this evening, Bostic said the high number of daily COVID-19 positive cases was still too high.
According to Bostic, though the weekend went well in terms of keeping Barbadians in their homes and away from possible COVID contacts and transmission, the island was still facing a daunting task with its response to the pandemic.

“Instead of keeping still and remembering to restrict activity and movement, people cannot wait to be on the streets again. I do not know how differently to say to persons, that they do not need to run to the supermarket and village stores every day to pick up two items. I do not know in what language I can speak to get youngsters liming on the block without masks and then going back home to their families and vulnerable seniors, to understand that this is no longer cool. As Minister of Health and Wellness, I am running out of things to say to persons that they must look out for, and attend to the needs of the elderly.

“My dear people, I speak to you this evening at the point of begging. Our numbers are not improving as I would have liked. If health was the only consideration in this equation, I would recommend an extension of the national lockdown, for a significantly longer period. I want to believe that it is still possible to reach you my fellow Barbadians, and get you to act in your own interest, and in the interest of us all,” he said.

One promising development underlined by the Minister, is that the national vaccination programme continues to gather pace, as interest in the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine grows.

“As of midday today, a total of 16, 111 vaccines have been administered, and I expect this to surpass the 20,000 mark before the week’s end. Again I need your cooperation in this matter. Barbados is striving hard, and when I say hard, I mean very hard. The Honourable Prime Minister [Mia Mottley] is personally leading the charge to secure vaccinations for every resident of Barbados, and also to have extras for those who visit long term, and may not have been inoculated.

“While I appreciate that there is a new and aggressive interest in, and the desire to become vaccinated, I would like to appeal to you, not to rush the centres. The vaccination programme is being rolled out in a very structured and deliberate manner. To date, we have focused on front-line and essential workers, and the most vulnerable in our population,” he said.

The 7 p.m. until 6 a.m curfew continues until Feb 28. (SB)

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