Friday, April 19, 2024

UPDATES: Press conference April 16, 2021

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Minister of Home Affairs Wilfred Abrahams is hosting a Press Conference today to provide a COVID-19 update and National Clean-up update.

Abrahams will be joined by Minister of Tourism Lisa Cummins; Minister of Health Jeffrey Bostic; Director of The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, Erouscilla Joseph; and Senior Veterinary Officer Dr Mark Trotman. (PR)

Minister of Home Affairs Wilfred Abrahams

  • Most massive emergency cleaning campaign in the history of Barbados.
  • Trying to open up major installations to try to get country back up and running.
  • Trying to get airport and seaport open because they are closed, Barbados is cut off and cannot get basic supplies into the country.
  • Closed airport means RSS plane cannot land and unable to send samples to CARPHA because of closure of airspace.
  • Trucks brought to the airport drove over runway to try to break up the dust that had hardened on the surface.
  • Plenty of equipment has been moved to the airport to try to get the runaway and the airport clean.
  • Using seawater to wash as many things as we could, used seawater to clean Bridgetown and highways.
  • Runway cleaned with treated water from the Bridgetown and Coverley sewage plant, minimal water used to clean up the airport.

 

Minister of Health Jeffrey Bostic

  • 576 COVID-19 tests on Thursday.
  • 12 positives – four males, eight females.
  • Positivity rate of less than 3 per cent.
  • Eight people released today.
  • Three people were already at Harrison Point Isolation Facility.
  • The nine other cases related to church cluster from the north.
  • Church cluster occupying much of the time of Ministry of Health and Wellness.
  • People not contacted because ministry do not know about them or have been unable to find them.
  • Appeals for people attached to the church to come forward to be tested.
  • Advised to present to Wildey gymnasium testing site.
  • Aggressively pursuing church cluster.
  • Do not have all the information to indicate numbers outstanding.
  • Very closely investigating and monitoring.
  • Leadership of church in quarantine.
  • Focus to get people tested to contain the spread of COVID-19.

 

Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins

  • Airspace has been given all-clear and airport will reopen at six this evening.
  • Airlines have been told and flights expected to start tomorrow.
  • Humanitarian flights can use Barbados as a landing site to move items into St Vincent.
  • Continuous maintenance will be put in place to make it safe for staff and planes.
  • Emphasis on humanitarian support.
  • Regional Security System will fly supplies into St Vincent tonight.
  • Tomorrow five to six flights expected.
  • Numbers are small here, but flight traffic expected both ways.
  • Airport will be busy over the next few days.
  • Met 60 tour operators today.
  • Between now and May 8, Barbados will be able to reopen for vaccinated passengers.
  • From May to July, demand is lukewarm because of the combination of factors put in place by governments in source markets and protocols here.
  • US market will see strong demand.

Erouscilla Joseph

  • Long period earthquakes, indicating magma is moving around.
  • Low level tremors lasted 40 mins last night.
  • Yesterday, UWI SRC had first measurement of sulphur dioxide flux in the ash plume being generated, additional tool to monitor changes in the volcanic activity.
  • Seeing a pattern of deflation, which means everything in the volcano is trying to get out.
  • Volcano still erupting, explosive activity diminishing, but does not mean event is over.
  • Not seeing activity that will lead to ash plumes that will carry over to Barbados.

Dr Mark Trotman

  • Ash is toxic and creating respiratory problems for many animals.
  • Keep animals away from ash and be careful what they put in their mouth.
  • Grazing animals susceptible.
  • Long-term effects will come in due course and farmers must be aware.
  • Make sure feed and water are clean when animals consuming.
  • Analytical tests being done to see what the composition of the ash.
  • Need to know number of livestock in Barbados.
  • Farmers must contact Barbados Agricultural Society to help Ministry of Agriculture to understand what needs are.

 

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