The Opposition People’s Party for Democracy and Development (PdP) has declared it is not satisfied that frontline workers in the fight against the COVID-19 contagion are receiving adequate protective gear.
PdP spokesman on health Paul Gibson claimed that a number of these workers, including airport staff, border security officers, medical personnel and police, have reached out to the party with regards to their need for more equipment. Gibson made it clear that while he applauded the Mia Mottley-administration for their efforts thus far, “oversights of this nature must be addressed immediately.”
At a press conference held at the Opposition’s temporary headquarters at the Hastings public buildings complex, he said: “In managing a crisis of this magnitude, there are areas that the Government may not have visibility on, and it is our duty to bring it to their attention.
“We do get calls from nurses, police officers and immigration officers and they are concerned that they do not have protective equipment and they are concerned that these equipment are not coming in a timely fashion. In managing and administrating this crisis, we want to make sure that resources are steered towards that grouping.
“We have done our best to provide information for them, give counsel, but we are going a step further as an Opposition group by making sure that we put some things in their hands. We have done this for some already.”
The Pdp spokesman explained that as Barbados goes through the stages of its COVID-19 mitigation plan, the level of protection for these frontline workers needed to be stepped up. Therefore, equipment that may have sufficed at stage zero, would need to be enhanced now that the country has moved to stage one.
Gibson said: “When we look at people like the police officers, if they have to go and apprehend someone that is being violent, they must be tooled with the adequate equipment now that there is a chance that the person might have the Coronavirus. The same goes for domestic violence situations. We want to make sure that when that officer walks into that environment, they are protecting themselves and gloves and mask are certainly appropriate for those types of situations.
“They are actually going into homes of a person who may be quarantined and we are asking that at least their mucus membranes be protected from the virus.”
He argued that while emergency personnel have signed up to make themselves available in extraordinary circumstances, which may sometimes require putting themselves at risk, unlike emergency scenarios such as natural disasters, the risk from COVID-19 can be mitigated.
He told reporters: “These workers must be given full consideration. Care should also be taken with regards to their length of hours and their length of exposure. Consideration must also be made for their families. These persons all have families and they have to go home to those families, and many have expressed concern that while they are willing to serve, their families also need consideration because they too are as much at risk.
“So every effort must be made to protect these group of individuals because if that frontline falls then we all fall down.” [email protected]