Barbados has announced 161 cases of COVID-19 at the Island’s Dodds prison. The discovery has prompted a massive contact tracing exercise.
Authorities say the cases relate to prison inmates, wardens and civilian staff at the prison. The infections have been linked to a super-spreader bus crawl on Boxing Day.
The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is seeking to determine whether the cases include the new, more contagious form of the virus.
COVID-19 Cabinet Sub Committee Chairman, Senator Jerome X. Walcott, told a news conference Saturday that officials identified the positive cases from over 1000 samples.
There are a total of 1,130 inmates and staff at Dodds.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kenneth George disclosed that in addition to the 161 cases at the prison, Barbados recorded 33 other positive cases within the past 48 hours.
“So in addition to the issues at the prisons, remember we are still picking up cases that come into Barbados through the Grantley Adams International Airport,” George stated.
He disclosed that to augment the Island’s testing capacity, the Ministry of Health will be opening polyclinics on Sunday, as well as on the two Bank Holidays on Monday and Tuesday from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm.
Declaring bus crawls to be a ‘clear and present danger’, the authorities announced a ban on the activity.
They have also announced a ban on bus and vehicle excursions.
The prohibitions are part of a slew of measures intended to control the spread of COVID-19.
The Island will be under a curfew between 9pm and 5pm, January 2-14.