The announcement of two confirmed cases of COVID-19 caused the Estimates debate in the House of Assembly to be postponed until Friday, at 10 a.m.
Leader of Government Business Santia Bradshaw proposed that the chamber postpone debate on the Appropriation Bill, minutes after Minister of Health Lt Col. Jeffrey Bostic announced, via national broadcast in his office, that they were two cases of COVID-19 in Barbados. The debate never got off the ground.
Bradshaw told the chamber: “We have, therefore, as a Government, decided that we would move to postpone further consideration of the Appropriation Bill at this stage until Friday at 10 a.m. the 20th of March.
“But I want to take the opportunity to remind all persons that Stage One is obviously a step up from Stage 0 which is where we were just a few hours ago. Stage One immediately means that the Government of Barbados will activate the National Emergency Operations Centre For National Preparedness.”
Opposition Leader Joseph Atherley urged Barbadians not to allow a spirit of fear and panic to take over.
“Let me join my voice with that of the leader of Government Business in appealing to Barbadians to retain a sense and spirit of calm in the midst of the threat which has become more immediate for us. One of the biggest enemies that we can have at this time is a spirit of panic and a fear that is uncontrolled,” Atherley said.
Speaker of the House Arthur Holder also added his voice to the appeal.
“This is a time for national collaboration, national unity and for all hands to be on deck, for all hands to act as one in unison. Yes it has reached this stage, but we are a resilient country, we are resilient Barbadians and I have no doubt that acting together that we can overcome this,” the Speaker said.