Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley says the two week lockdown which was due to end on Wednesday this week, has been extended until month-end.

She made the announcement  while speaking during a covid-19 update press conference, stating that the country will not crumble.

Ms. Mottley told reporters that the decision to continue the National Pause came after extensive consultation.

The Prime Minister also explained the cost to the country.

Health Minister, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic has been explaining why there has been a slow-down in the country’s covid-19 testing.

He also told the media that this was due to the lack of the reagent required, but he said Barbados was working assiduously to get it into the country.

Key points

Dr. Jerome Walcott Chairman Covid-19 cabinet sub-committee reported:

  • Operation Seek Save has covered so far over 62 thousand households, identified 168 suspicious households, and produced 18 positive test results out of 218 tests, a 9 % positivity rating.

Minister of Health Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic reported:

  • The authorities working hard to reverse community spread.
  • From Feb 3 -14 the lab received 8,395 samples, conducted 6,560 tests, producing 628 positives.
  • Out of 567 of the positives, 401 were from contact tracing of primary contacts or 70%.
  • The 207 positives reported yesterday were from the 1,222 tests completed. Of those positives 111 were from the period Feb 1-7.
  • Several hotspots have been identified over the last ten days.
  • The Geriatric Hospital had 6 cases among staff. All patients tested are negative. The kitchen there is back in operation from today.
  • The Homeless Shelter in Bridgetown had one case. All other staff and clients tested were negative.

Senior Citizens Homes

Home #1 in St. Michael: 7 asymptomatic cases. No further cases.

Home #2 in eastern Barbados: more challenging: 31 clients positive and 6 staff positive some provisionally. That home has been designated as an isolation facility as the majority of people there are positive.

  • Contact is tracing generally is continuing; more resources being allocated. The authorities must ensure short-term pain for long term benefit.
  • The country lost 7 million dollars a day in economic activity during first shut down and slightly less during the current shut down.
  • The data on the positivity rate are compromised by the testing issues. The backlog is about 1,500 tests.
  • The general belief among medical professionals was that the pause should be extended.
  • The PM met this morning with the finance and economic team. The team felt the economy will be hurt by an extension but the economy will not collapse.
  • It is likely there will be a $78 million loss of economic activity in the first (current) two weeks of the lockdown and a further $70 million dollar contraction projected for a two week extension; a $150 million loss of economic activity for February overall is projected.
  • The economy will be hurt but will not die due to a further two week lock down.
  • The minister in the ministry of finance is to meet with financial institutions about addressing loans and mortgages for individuals to put in place arrangements to allow people to meet their financial arrangements even if it means “reprofiling” and he will also meet with utility companies on payment terms for customers.
  • Financial assistance to shops and vendors is to be extended.
  • The BEST program for the tourism sector is to be refined to help keep hotels open and to help tourism businesses keep their heads above water.
  • Economic growth is still projected this year as key capital projects will commence or resume once the lockdown ends.
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