(PRESS RELEASE) — There are two new cases of COVID-19 in Barbados today, Friday, March 20. This brings the national count to six.
The newly diagnosed persons are two Barbadians: a male in his 20s and a female in her 60s, both of whom recently returned to the island from the United States.
Yesterday, Thursday, March 19, the Ministry of Health and Wellness conducted 23 tests on suspected cases, bringing the total tests done to 94 to date.
The Ministry has initiated the process of contact tracing to identify every individual who came in close contact with all cases and will quarantine such persons for 14 days. They will also be tested for COVID-19 if they become symptomatic.
Barbados is the testing site for cruise ships that are homeporting in the Bridgetown Port. Under the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2007, Barbados is obligated to render medical care to anyone who becomes ill on board a cruise ship which homeports here.
Crew members suspected of having COVID-19 on those vessels remain isolated on ship and their samples are taken and tested at the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory, once a formal request is made.
Over the last two days, the Ministry of Health and Wellness responded to a request from a ship’s captain to have four crew members tested. Those results came back positive for COVID-19. None of these individuals came on shore in Barbados and remain isolated on board ship. Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced last Thursday that shore leave for all crew members of ships docked in the Bridgetown Port was prohibited.
Crew members who test positive for COVID-19 are not added to the national count, as these cases are being treated as international conveyance, in keeping with International Health Regulations.
The Ministry emphasized that Barbados is still at Stage 1 of its National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, where the focus was on containment and the prevention of community spread.