The Prime Minister has dismissed as fake news, rumours circulating regarding the arrival of Ghanaian nurses, some of whom later tested positive for the coronavirus.
Mottley said even before they landed, there was “a lot of fake news and a lot of talk” which caused her to wonder if there would be the same commentary if the nurses were coming from eastern Europe.
Nine of the 95 nurses who arrived last Thursday tested positive for COVID-19 the following day, and are now in isolation while the others are in quarantine.
She said: “I hope that Barbadians accept that we are dealing with people who have come to help us. We have had the benefit of 100 Cuban nurses, we have the benefit of these nurses, there has been a hiccup for only nine of them, but I have asked both doctors who are better qualified than I am, to be able to speak to the fact that not just these nurses, but doctors and nurses over the world have been exposed to the virus and have returned to the front line in order to be able to save more lives.”
Mottley’s comments came at a press briefing at Ilaro Court to address the concerns of Barbadians regarding a spike in COVID-19 cases by 24 over the weekend.
She stressed that Barbados cannot adequately manage the medical system without the nurses who were brought in. She said it is going to take some time to expand the number of trained Barbadian nurses and that Government is committed to training new members of the profession.
“In the interim, we need to take care of those patients who are in urgent need of the assistance,” said the Prime Minister. “And I want to say to all Barbadians, that our brothers and sisters have come from across the Atlantic Ocean to help us and to buttress and to reinforce our health services and I really do hope that we will treat them as honoured guests.
“There is no reason even with this hiccup, for any concern, but I believe that if we continue, once they are out and you are working with them, that you will see and appreciate what many of us do.
“They will add tremendous value and help us to save many lives in this country that we might not otherwise be able to save. Our health system is not perfect, but it is still better than most across the world.”
Head of Infectious Diseases at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Dr Corey Forde reported that the nurses in isolation are doing well, while one who was admitted for 24-hour observation because of a medical concern is also “doing quite well” and will be discharged back to the secondary isolation area.
“They are all doing quite well and are in good spirits and thus far have related quite well to the staff,” Dr Forde said. “I would go as far as to say Prime Minister that one of them wanted to know if they could work at the facility with us. With regards to the others who are in quarantine facilities, apart from one who got ill, who is doing quite well now, they are quite fine.”