The Opposition People’s Party for Democracy and Development (PdP) has accused Government of not being straight with Barbadians about community spread of the viral infection, which COVID Czar Richard Carter has now acknowledged is present here.
Expressing little surprise at Carter’s revelations, the party’s spokesman on health Paul Gibson today suggested that Government should have closed the island’s borders and ban the gathering of groups at an earlier stage to better contain the viral illness.
Gibson said: “We have always felt that the Government’s messaging was a bit compromised in that they were talking about community spread but they never used the World Health Organisation’s definition of person to person spread.
“Now we were purporting that there was person to person spread. But this was not being spoken about in the press releases being done with the Czar and so on. This was always a concern to us, that we were not sending the right messages. When we were trying to tell them to stop sports and NAPSAC they thought that we were being political.”
Speaking on the state-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation this morning, the Czar, citing the definition of community spread as outlined by the US Centers for Disease Control, explained there are two COVID-19 cases where authorities are unable to trace to an existing case in the system.
Carter said: “We have two such cases in Barbados, one from a while ago that we have been investigating for some time and one more recently. These are two cases that we are unable to link to an existing known case in our system, so following our definition that would constitute community spread.”
But the Czar insisted that community spread of the disease is not widespread.
He declared: “It is two cases out of the 82 and in fact only one of those two cases is live but it does represent a situation that is of concern to us because we have a case that we can’t link to someone else and it means that that person would have acquired the infection somewhere other than through a person that is in our system.”
Gibson told Barbados TODAY that the PdP is of the firm view that any response to the coronavirus must be based on the science and testing is paramount.
“COVID is a new forest and the best way to find your way to the endpoint of COVID is via the use of testing,” he added.
The party spokesman stopped short of saying whether Government should pull back on easing lockdown measures in light of the new development.
While stressing that the health of Barbadians must come first, Gibson expressed the view that authorities should be guided by the science.
“So wherever the science takes us we go. We should be very cognizant of what is happening in the country. Yes, stimulating the economy is important but death is real with COVID and we must be mindful of this in terms of the outcomes that we are discussing,” he said. [email protected]