Government’s COVID-19 National Preparedness Plan is yet to be finalised, Minister of Health Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic has revealed during a Facebook live session with the public
The Health Minister appeared in a video forum, The National Response to COVID-19, hosted by the Barbados Government Information Service this evening.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Mia Mottley made mention of the COVID-19 National Preparedness Plan after meeting with the Social Partnership but indicated at the time that the plan had to go to Cabinet for approval.
There is growing concern about the national plan given that the list of neighbouring countries afflicted by the novel coronavirus continues to grow daily: St Vincent, Curacao, Suriname, Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana, Cuba, Cayman Islands, St Lucia, Dominican Republic, Guadaloupe, Saint Barthelemy, Martinque and French Guiana, Venezeula and Puerto Rico.
Lt. Col. Bostic confirmed that the plan did indeed go to Cabinet but said it was not quite finished.
He said: “We have taken the plan to Cabinet, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the plan was examined to a large extent but we still have a bit of it to do.
“I can say to you that that plan is a comprehensive plan. The plan takes us the full distance of this virus in terms of how it may progress.
“One of the first areas we would have examined would have been the management of COVID-19 and having established a proper management structure.
“That management structure is called ANASEC which is the Augmented National Security Committee. It is a National Security Committee in existence and that has been augmented to include representatives from civil society including churches, NGOs, the labour movement, the Social Partnership, other groupings that we consider to be very important in terms of taking the country forward in this process.
The Health Minister explained that the plan being developed was geared at taking on all-Government and an all-society approach.
He said: “We recognise that COVID-19 has to have an all Government approach and an all society approach because the impact of COVID-19 on Barbados will be wide and varied.
“Not only for those persons who might contract the virus but certainly the impact economically, socially on the education system, on food supplies and things of that nature.
“This new management structure will give us the kind of foundation that is necessary in order for us to be able to mitigate against the virus and also have appropriate responses to the virus.”
Public talk of a coronavirus plan first surfaced Monday in the House of Assembly when Opposition Leader Joseph Atherley chided Government for not clearly articulating its plan for the elderly should there be a coronavirus outbreak in Barbados.
But at the time Lt. Col. Bostic said there was a plan in place but it was not yet finalized.
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