By Shermain Bique-Charles
Barbuda’s resident doctor Jeremy Deazle has issued a stark warning to event planners across the country, saying they should organise fetes and gatherings “as if Covid was still prevalent”.
Dr Deazle told Observer that while he understands the haste in attempting to get the economy back on track following the blow from Covid, the pandemic is not yet over.
“I see a lot of activities have been planned. But I hope they are planned to the T and we take all the necessary measures and precautions that will ensure that if there’s an outbreak, then we didn’t do anything stupid to cause a sadly significant rapid increase in Covid again,” he cautioned.
He said health officials must ensure protocols are followed at large-scale events, irrespective of recent rule relaxations.
“I’m urging these event planners to make sure that these Covid restrictions are definitely enforced and we are comfortable,” Dr Deazle added.
Meanwhile, Barbuda continues to see zero Covid-19 infections but Dr Deazle is warning the sister isle’s residents not to become complacent.
“We have no cases at the moment in Barbuda. We need to realise that cases have been coming in the form of waves. We are at a place right now where our numbers are low but it doesn’t mean we are at an end of the pandemic,” he said.
Referencing recent Covid spikes in the UK, Shanghai and Japan, Dr Deazle warned the Caribbean could also see a surge soon.
“Even in New York and France there is a prediction that there could be more increases. In Antigua and Barbuda, the possibility of having a climax is really high,” he explained.
Last month, the use of facemasks in most public settings became optional but Dr Deazle urged residents to continue to protect themselves.
“We have a new mandate that makes facemasks optional…I know for a lot of people it’s a relief because some persons are fed up of the facemasks. But the facemasks are there to protect lives as well. Reality is, it feels like a lot of people have the notion that we are at the end of the pandemic but that’s not so,” he said.
Dr Deazle praised the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force which he said had been instrumental in handling emergencies on the sister isle.
“They have always been available to assist the Barbuda people in times of medical evacuation. They are highly dependable, we can call on them at any time and they are always willing to make that ultimate sacrifice to help the nation,” he added.