Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has announced a significant easing of the covid-19 restrictions after disclosing a drop in the positivity rate over the past two weeks.
Speaking in an address to the nation following today’s meeting of cabinet, Ms. Mottley stressed that Barbados is still not out of the woods and that there’s still a way to go in battling the pandemic.
But she cited the progress in reducing the rate of new cases and in vaccinating the population.
Miss Mottley described the global situation with regards to obtaining vaccines as the wild, wild west but said that Barbados will be purchasing additional doses.
She indicated that the national vaccination program will immediately resume using doses from the current stock pending the expected receipt over the next few weeks of more than 30 thousand vaccines from the global Covaxx program. In addition, 5,000 doses have been received from Guyana and other doses are expected via the African vaccination platform.
The focus will be on erasing the backlog of vaccinations for the elderly as well as on vaccinating people with underlying illnesses and frontline workers, many of whom were previously reluctant but have now expressed an interest in being vaccinated.
Mobile teams will also be going into communities where covid clusters have been identified and will be vaccinating people there.
Testing is also to be expanded with random tests.
Prime Minister Mottley noted that next week, March 17th, is the one year anniversary of the first covid case in Barbados.
She said that while Barbados still has a way to go, it is in a better position than several weeks ago, as the figures are trending in the right direction and therefore some restrictions will be eased.
Key points are:
- The curfew will be from 9pm to 6am.
- Sunday will remain a closed day for supermarkets and retail businesses for the time being.
- Still prohibited are gyms, pleasure craft and team sports/ contact sports
- Non-contact sports can resume, with the exception of table tennis and squash
- Allowed are diving, walking, hiking and golf.
- Hairdressers, barbers and restaurants can resume but there will be no in-house dining at fast-food restaurants.
- No congregation is allowed around bars at restaurants.
- Public service vehicles will move from 60 to 75 percent of capacity.
- Daycare centres and day nurseries are allowed to reopen,
- Discussions will take place with teachers about face-to-face classes.