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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Sunday sent a letter of solidarity to Prime Minister Mia Mottley, as Barbados grapples with a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Over the past two days, almost 200 people tested positive for the Covid-19 virus in Barbados, and public health officials are investigating at least three clusters, one of which is a super spreader event accounting for the majority of new cases.

Browne said in his brief letter that he was deeply troubled to learn of recent events in Barbados that have caused a sudden surge in the number of Covid-19 cases, “despite all the diligence and careful protocols that your government implemented to ensure that the virus did not spread in the community.”

He said that he is confident that Barbados’ health authorities and law enforcement agencies have acted swiftly to “address the problem, and with the support of the Barbadian people, the situation will be brought under control and new measures introduced to stop a recurrence.”

Apart from expressing solidarity with Barbados, Browne said the purpose of this letter is to also advise that, while Antigua and Barbuda’s border authorities will continue rigid protocols for entry to our shores, flights to and from Bridgetown will not be prohibited.

“I want to assure you of my government’s readiness to be of any help that we are capable of giving to the Government and people of Barbados at this difficult time.  Barbados is not alone,” he said.

Head of the Cabinet Covid-19 sub-committee in Barbados, Senator Jerome Walcott, said that 161 people at Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds, comprising inmates, wardens and civilian staff returned positive tests.

And on Friday and Saturday, 33 cases outside of the prison – via contact tracing and visitors at the Grantley Adams International Airport – were also recorded.

Of that 161, there are 113 inmates and 48 staff who tested positive.

(See full text of PM’s letter)

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