Barbados’ COVID-19 surveillance has been further strengthened with the donation of three full-body thermal imaging scanners to Government, by Sagicor Life Inc.
One scanner has been installed at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and the other two at the Grantley Adams International Airport.
Speaking at the official handing over ceremony held in QEH’s auditorium yesterday, Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, said the donation was timely, as “we are now at the stage of reopening our country to receive international visitors”.
He said the devices would make the process of conducting temperature checks at the ports of entry less tedious for personnel stationed there. The personnel were using hand-held scanners during initial stages of the island’s COVID-19 screening efforts.
The Health Minister also stated that the scanners would also “go a long way towards the reopening of the hospital to visitors, and for us to be able control and contain any eventuality that results from the reopening [of the country]”.
“The COVID-19 response, which is still ongoing, has been a very demanding effort on the part of all. From day one, the policy of the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Government of Barbados was to try everything possible to keep COVID out of our hospitals; [the QEH] and the district hospitals which house our elderly care patients. And that is something that will remain,” he assured.
As he thanked Sagicor on behalf of the Government and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, he said efforts would continue to ensure the health and safety of staff and patients, after the pandemic.
Minister Bostic also used the opportunity to praise all of those involved in the response effort, noting that it collaboration was key in the fight against COVID-19.
“We’ve been seeing cooperation across ministries, right across government, the public sector, the private sector. We’ve received support and cooperation from churches, mosques, and temples, [as well as] the ordinary man in the street,” he said.
Executive Vice-President and General Manager designate of Sagicor Life Inc., Paul Inniss, said the donation was part of a greater strategy to assist with the COVID-19 response, noting that the company has been working alongside the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs to help the vulnerable in society.
He added that the scanners, valued at BDS 300,000, “will assist with identifying potential carriers of the virus”.
“With the planned reopening of this island’s borders, the threat of COVID-19 is ever present, so we are certain [the scanners] will be an asset to our medical teams,” Mr. Inniss concluded.