(CMR) Barbados will go on a 15-day lockdown on February 3 to allow for house-to-house health checks to deal with the rapid spread of COVID-19 and to contain the UK variant identified in the country.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who declared war against the virus, announced that the country will be on pause from February 3 to 17 and will have a 7 pm to 6 am curfew during that period.
In addition to community spread, Mottley said there have also been confirmed cases of the COVID-19 variant identified in the UK last month. Three of the 10 samples tested have been confirmed to be the highly transmissible variant.
She called for residents to support efforts to fight the coronavirus's spread. She said the next few weeks would be difficult but will be used to get the country in a place of restoration, safe from COVID-19 and dengue.
“We may be bruised, we may be battered, but there is no battle that we cannot win. For sure, the economy is going to be seriously affected… we will not sacrifice people at the altar of expediency or at the altar of simply trying to hold on to a dollar that is likely to be lost because of the level of deaths in the long run,” Mottley said during a national address.
She explained that the 15-day lockdown would allow officials to do house-to-house checks and do on-the-spot antigen testing of people who display symptoms.
Mottley said the Government's war against COVID-19 would cost $20 to 25 million over the next few weeks.
Barbados have also reintroduced strict measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
Next Wednesday, it will be an offense to not wear a mask in public.
All persons over 70 years old were advised to stay at home over the next three weeks unless dire situations such as getting prescriptions filled at pharmacies.
Also, travelers to Barbados will be required to have a negative PCR test before boarding their flight.
The test should be taken no more than three days before travel. Visitors will also need to do a rapid antigen test upon arrival to the island.
Mottley said the measures would not be implemented until next week to prevent panic; however, she advised people to immediately observe different protocols.
As of Tuesday, Barbados had 1427 cases of COVID-19, a major increase since January as the country had under 500 cases in December.
Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised US citizens not to travel to Barbados because there was a high risk of getting the coronavirus.