BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – The remainder of Barbados’ COVID-19 protocols, which included mandatory mask wearing in schools and on public transportation, have been discontinued.
A statement from the country’s Ministry of Health and Wellness announced on Wednesday that the current Emergency Management Order and its attendant Directives have come to an end.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Kenneth George explained that after consultation with the Emergency Operations Centre, it was agreed that there was no longer a requirement for legislation to guide protocols for prevention and control of COVID-19 in Barbados.
He said the decision was taken after assessing the local, regional and international evidence, which was collated over the last two-and-a-half years.
Most protocols were lifted back in September, with mask-wearing being optional except on public transportation, in schools, medical facilities and in day-care institutions.
Dr George said that after examining the local levels of spread with respect to schools and other educational institutions, mask wearing would no longer be mandatory. Wearing masks will also be optional for people travelling on public service vehicles.
However, he reminded members of the public that admittance to particular establishments such as health care institutions will be guided by the institutional policy of the particular establishment. This, he said, may include the requirement for mask wearing and hand sanitisation.
Noting that the Ministry of Health and Wellness had always promoted personal responsibility as a means of reducing spread and infection, Dr George said this was still necessary, especially for the most vulnerable groups in the population – people 65 years and older and those with non-communicable diseases—, as well as other underlying illnesses and particularly those who are immunocompromised.
“Individuals are reminded to continue to use personal protection, especially if they fall into these categories,” the CMO said.
“Residents of Barbados must be aware that mask wearing, physical distancing, hand sanitisation and vaccination, remain appropriate actions to protect them and their families. For persons who test positive, isolation remains a most effective public health intervention. Therefore, if you test positive for COVID-19 you are expected to remain at home unless you have to be admitted to a medical facility for care,” he emphasised.
Dr George assured the public that health authorities would continue due diligence and monitor the COVID-19 pandemic during Christmas and into the New Year.
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