Ambassador Liz Thompson, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, who rushed home from New York to be at her gravely ill mother’s bedside, has become the most prominent Barbadian to test positive for COVID-19, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.
Now she is to be confined at the special coronavirus hospital at Harrison Point, St Lucy, although she shows no sign of illness.
In a statement, the Ministry of Health said the “asymptomatic” ambassador tested positive a day after she arrived home from the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, becoming the 89th coronavirus patient.
The ministry said: “Thompson arrived on a private jet and was tested at Paragon immediately after her arrival. This morning we received information that her test was positive. There was one other passenger on the plane on which the Ambassador travelled. That passenger was also tested; that test is negative.”
“Ambassador Thompson came to Barbados to be at the bedside of her 95-year-old mother who became gravely ill with a heart condition (non-COVID related condition) on the weekend. Given the gravity of her mother’s condition, she was allowed to go to her mother’s bedside. The senior Mrs Thompson is being kept comfortable at her home.”
According to the ministry, Ambassador Thompson was allowed to visit her mother at home, but stressed that she had “no contact with the members of that household other than her mother”.
The diplomat, a former Minister of Health in Owen Arthur’s first cabinet of 1994, “was wearing a mask from the moment she got off the plane and has been practising physical distancing”, the ministry declared.
“She will, from today, go into isolation at Harrison’s Point,” the statement said.
But the Health Ministry said the ambassador’s relatives are to undergo testing for the coronavirus as a “usual precaution”.
“All precautionary measures and protocols are being observed, “the ministry said, adding that it will deal with Ambassador Thompson’s case “as it has all other cases in Barbados”.
Ambassador Thompson and her family are cooperating fully with the Ministry of Health, “but she is appealing to the public not to contact the family given her mother’s very grave and deteriorating condition”.