A recent report suggesting that a COVID-19 case recorded in Trinidad and Tobago had originated in Barbados has been met with “concern and disappointment’’ from Minister of Health and Wellness Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, who has told Barbados TODAY there was no evidence to justify that claim.
Declining to say much more on the matter, Minister Bostic promised that a full statement would be issued on Tuesday, as he stressed that with the exception of arrivals from repatriation flights, the country had recorded no new cases for almost 40 days.
“There is absolutely nothing to indicate that [the case originated in Barbados]. We have no cases and I am going to issue something on that shortly, but we have had no cases in Barbados since the date that we indicated, except the one that came back on the repatriated flight,” he told Barbados TODAY on Monday.
Last Tuesday, Barbadians were taken by surprise when Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Health reported that among the twin-island republic’s newest “imported” cases was a University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill campus student who was among a group of students who flew home from Barbados.
But Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George told Barbados TODAY that the student had tested negative on arrival in Trinidad and spent 14 days there before testing positive.
When asked if he was concerned and/or disappointed about the way Port of Spain reported the case, Minister Bostic replied: “Yes, we were, and we have been doing our own checks and so on, and we will issue a statement on it.”
“We hadn’t had any cases at all 15 or 16 days before that person left here, and we haven’t had anything since then either, but something official will be issued on it, and we maintain our position that we have had no cases in Barbados,” he added.
Last week’s case triggered a rigorous process of contact tracing that included mandatory testing of all students still living on Cave Hill campus’ Halls of Residence where the Trinidadian was staying.
Vice president of the Guild of Students, Taahir Bulbulia told Barbados TODAY that in addition to the students still in Barbados, others from across the region who were recently repatriated have also tested negative for the dreaded virus.
“I am happy to report that all protocols have been followed with regard to the students from Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Vincent and the Grenadines who left Barbados and those who are still here.
“All of the island association presidents indicated that all of the persons who left within the said time have been traced and all have been coming back negative. So, I must applaud the Government and health officials in Barbados for doing this.
All of the persons who are still on halls have been tested and have all tested negative as well,” Bulbulia reported.
On Sunday, Barbados recorded its most recent COVID-19 case – a passenger on a repatriation JetBlue flight from the United States. [email protected]