The People’s Party for Democracy and Development (PdP) is questioning why Ambassador Elizabeth Thompson, who tested positive for COVID-19, was allowed to visit the bedside of her gravely ill 95-year-old mother.
Paul Gibson, PdP’s spokesperson for health said Thompson should have been quarantined until she received the results of her test instead of being allowed to leave Paragon, where she received the test, to go to her mother’s home.
During a press conference at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition this morning, Gibson said he hoped the special permission given to the diplomat would not lead to further positive COVID-19 cases on the island.
The Ambassador travelled to Barbados on May 18 from New York, which is the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. She arrived on a private jet and was tested at Paragon immediately after arrival. The following day, the results returned that the test was positive. There was one other passenger on the plane on which the Ambassador travelled. That passenger was also tested, and the test was negative.
A government-issued press release indicated that the Ambassador came to Barbados to be at bedside of her mother who became gravely ill with a heart condition, which is non-COVID related, on the weekend. Given the gravity of her mother’s condition, she was allowed to go to her bedside at her home.
However, Gibson said that while he had no issues with Thompson being allowed to land, he believes she should have been quarantined until her results came back in what he said should have been a matter of about four hours.
“For whatever reason, Ms Thompson not knowing the results of that test was permitted to leave the environs of the airport and go to a vulnerable person, an amazingly warm-hearted, Christian 95-year-old Barbadian lady.
“At 95-years-old, the protocols should not have permitted that visitation, it should have been an immediate quarantining of Ms Thompson, not just to protect her mother and family but also airport workers, customs and immigration staff,” he said.
The release also noted that Thompson had no contact with other members of the household when she visited her mother’s residence. It also said she was wearing a mask from the moment she got off the plane and has been practising physical distancing.
The release stated Thompson, who had no symptoms of the disease and was feeling well, would go into isolation from May 19.
Despite having no contact with the other members of the household, the Ministry of Health is taking the usual precaution of testing family members. All precautionary measures and protocols are being observed.
The release said the Ministry of Health will continue to deal with the situation as it has all other cases in Barbados.
But, Gibson declared that there cannot be one set of rules for some and not for others. The spokesman said the PdP has been observing that classism is something with which the Government very strongly associates, and the “adhocism” of some being immediately quarantined and others not, should not be left up to the passenger but the authorities.
“Immediately quarantined means immediately quarantined full stop. It does not matter who you are, and for the record being a diplomat in the season of COVID-19 does not trump the health of this country’s greatest treasure that is, the people of Barbados,” Gibson added. (AH)