Despite some controversy and uncertainty in the early days of implementation, the Government’s COVID-19 ‘safe zones’ initiative is being put into motion across the country’s public health system.
Chief Medical Officer The Most Honourable Dr Kenneth George made the disclosure even as leading stakeholders in the private sector took both Government and businesses to task over their apparent failure to launch the measures.
He added that officials at various institutions within the system would continue working through expected challenges.
“The intent was to have safe zones at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, district hospitals and the Psychiatric Hospital and we have had several meetings and as far as I am aware, the teams are up and running. They are working towards making this a reality,” the CMO said, in response to questions from Barbados TODAY.
The COVID-19 safe zones will require all frontline staff to be fully vaccinated or regularly tested to ensure a virus-free environment for both employees and clients.
President of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA), Trisha Tannis however, was on Thursday quoted in another section of the press questioning whether existing vaccines would protect people from the new Omicron strain of the virus.
She added that it had taken “far too long” to establish the zones in the private sector.
Last month, numerous flaws identified by the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners, Barbados Dental Association, Barbados Nurses’ Association and other stakeholders resulted in a delay of the measures that were supposed to start in healthcare environments and extend to hospitality and other industries.
But the CMO explained that even now that the safe zones are “up and running” it would take time for related issues to be ironed out.
“I would just like to let you know that we have had full cooperation from the Geriatric Hospital, Psychiatric Hospital, QEH has done tremendous work and the other area is the nursing homes and senior citizens’ homes in the private sector. So they have been working quietly behind the scenes to make sure this policy directive comes to fruition,” Dr George concluded.