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Barbuda takes the lead in COVID-19 fight

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By
Elesha George

Elesha.george@antiguaobserver.com

Authorities
on the sister island are leading the way in the fight against the coronavirus by
implementing the most stringent measures seen in the twin island state to date.

“Unity
is strength. We might be small in numbers but we are ready to face COVID-19,”
said Barbuda’s acting matron, Prisca John.

For
the past two weeks, the Coast Guard has been patrolling sea borders, asking
yachts and boats to identify themselves and to present clearance passes from mainland
Antigua.

In
its latest pronouncement, the Barbuda Council ordered the closure of borders to
all non-essential services.

Barbuda
has also issued a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for anyone coming from outside
of Antigua and Barbuda, and has asked supermarkets and small shops to restrict
service to no more than 10 customers at a time.

Resident
doctor, Jeremy Deazle, said because the population is so small, more aggressive
measures are being applied, adding that, “anyone that comes from overseas, in
spite of where you come from, it could be a high risk zone, it could be a low
risk zone”.

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With
just two doctors and four nurses to attend to a population of just over 1,000
people, the officials’ plan is expected to manage the human resource capacity
while minimising the risk of residents contracting COVID-19.

Patients
with chronic illnesses like hypertension, high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes
will receive care at a special clinic, which is expected to become operational
from March 30.

Dr
Deazle explained that primary care would essentially be divided into two groups.
Those deemed high risk will be seen at a location in Codrington.

“These
are mostly elderly persons who are on chronic medication … at the hospital we
are going to continue seeing acute cases, persons coming with lacerations, pain
injuries and stuff like that,” he explained.

He
added that people arriving at the Hanna Thomas hospital with signs of
respiratory failure will be provided with face masks and immediately isolated
for later assessment and diagnosis.

An
area has also been designated in the village where medication and prescription
refill services will be made available for elderly patients. The medication
will be delivered to their homes so as to prevent the spread of the virus to
these high-risk patients.

A
domestic task force is already in place. By next week, a number of ‘no
loitering’ areas will be outlined and a hotline will be created for persons exhibiting
signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

The post Barbuda takes the lead in COVID-19 fight appeared first on Antigua Observer Newspaper.

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