BARBADOS HAS today confirmed its first two cases of COVID-19.
The two individuals both arrived on the Caribbean island from the US.
In a live address this afternoon, Barbados’ minister of health and wellness, Lt Col Jeffrey Bostic, said: “The patients are a 48-year-old visitor who arrived in Barbados on March 13 from the United States and a 39-year-old female, a Barbadian who recently returned to Barbados from the United States.”
Bostic said both patients were experiencing symptoms of a viral infection and were referred to a specialist team at the ministry of health and wellness for further evaluation where they tested positive for the virus.
“[They] have been placed in isolation where they will remain until they recover,” Bostic added.
The minister said that 12 others were also tested for COVID-19 and their results came back negative.
“I also want to assure the public there is no need for panic”Jeffrey Bostic, Barbados minister of health
Contact tracing has begun to identify those who have been in close proximity with the two COVID-19 patients. Once found, they will be placed in isolation for 14 days.
“Our priority now as a ministry is to ensure that COVID-19 is contained and to do all in our power to prevent in country transmission,” Bostic said.
The country has implemented a number of new restrictions as a result of the development.
All public gatherings are now restricted to 100 people, visits by members of the public to care homes have been suspended and visits to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Barbados’ main general hospital have been restricted.
Residents and visitors were advised to follow public health advice such as washing hands, using hand sanitiser and maintaining distance between those who are coughing and sneezing.
Those who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 – a fever, persistent cough and difficulty breathing – or have been in contact with someone who is have been asked to seek medical advice.
Bostic said: “I am committed to doing all in my power to protect the health and ensure the safety of every person resident here.”
“I also want to assure the public there is no need for panic.”