New Covid-19 protocols rolled out for hurricane shelters

NODS Director Philmore Mullin (file photo)
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The National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) has disclosed some of its shelter protocols, as the nation navigates an already-active hurricane season.

Along with the usual safety measures, rules have had to be adjusted to include measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Appearing before Cabinet this week, NODS director Philmore Mullin reported on the level of readiness of some 46 shelters across Antigua and Barbuda, including the supplies and the communication devices required.

As part of the shelter protocols – disclosed in this week’s post-Cabinet report – every individual hoping to utilise a shelter during a storm, will be required to undergo temperature checks.

Individuals will also be questioned by health professionals, and required to provide certain information that will determine whether they can stay in a shelter or be transported to a bio-secure area, such as the Infectious Diseases Control Centre (IDC) at the old Holberton Hospital.

Further, each sheltered individual will be provided with a mask which they will be required to wear during their stay, except when sleeping.

Within the shelters, households/families will be assigned spaces that reflect their numbers, and every family unit will be placed at least six feet apart from each other.

Additionally, NODS reported that the designated shelter in Barbuda — at the Fisheries Complex – is in a state of readiness, with sufficient flashlights, sheeting, blankets and beds.

A generator has also been repaired there, and a satellite phone is to be supplied, along with other devices to ensure effective communication.

Sheets of plywood are also being stored for distribution to people who may need to secure their homes.

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