Minister of Health and Wellness Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic is not losing any sleep over a decision by the United States health agency to designate Barbados a high-risk destination for COVID-19.
On Thursday, the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) told its citizens to avoid travelling to Barbados, deeming it a “high risk country”.
Barbados, along with Antigua & Barbuda, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, and the US Virgin Islands were all listed among Level 3 destinations.
It is the second time that the US has warned its citizens about coming to Barbados because of COVID-19.
But speaking last night at a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) political rally in Golden Ridge, St George, Bostic said he was not worried about the move.
“The United States is operating within their sovereign right to do whatever they want with us when it comes to COVID. So, if they want to COVID blacklist Barbados because we have been able to keep COVID out of all of our hospitals, including the Geriatric Hospital, let them do that. If they want to COVID blacklist Barbados because we have been able to keep it out of our communities, let them do that. If they want to COVID blacklist Barbados because we built a multi-million-dollar isolation facility at Harrison Point that can hold 200 and something persons and we’ve never even quarter filled it, let them do that. If they want to COVID blacklist Barbados because we have testing kits and we do a lot more testing per capita than they are doing, let them COVID blacklist Barbados,” Bostic maintained.
“But I am happy to live in a country that you and you and you can go and get a COVID test tomorrow and get it back in less than 24 hours. There are some countries that it takes ten days and 11 and 12 days and I’m not calling any country by name. I am proud today to be part of a country where, generally speaking, people adhere to the protocols and because of the discipline and cooperation of Barbadians we’ve been successful so far in what we are doing.”
“So I say to you, don’t have any fears and doubts about ourselves. And I’m not saying that to you because this is who we are, I’m saying it to say to you that we know who we are,” the Health Minister declared.
The CDC’s advisory was issued exactly a week after Barbados copped the Seatrade Cruise Award for Destination of the Year, beating out neighbouring St Kitts and Nevis which remains on CDC’s list of countries for which no travel notice has been issued because the risk is very low. (RB)