Thursday 22 August, 2019

Ebola outbreak in Congo spurs Barbados to update Plan, secure ports

Barbados is not waiting for a case of ebola locally to update its ebola plan, especially having recently granted visa waivers to 10 African countries.

Having had a plan in place previously, with the ebola outbreak reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo being deemed 'a public health emergency of international concern', the Ministry of Health and Wellness in Barbados is reviewing and updating its Ebola Plan to ensure that authorities are able to respond effectively, if the need arises.

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In a press statement, it was indicated that the review comes on the heels of the World Health Organization’s declaration on July 17 of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On Tuesday, July 23, the local Ministry disclosed that Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic, had met with the Ministry’s senior officials as well as representatives at Barbados'ports of entry - the Bridgetown Port and the Grantley Adams International Airport, as well as with authorities at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to review the status of preparedness.

The Ministry assured the public that it will continue to take steps to strengthen its level of preparedness and these measures would inform the revision of the Ebola Plan.

Last month, June 2019, the Mia Mottley-led Barbados Labour Party (BLP) government took the decision to immediately grant visa waivers to 10 countries in Africa, however, despite the Democratic Republic of Congo not being amongst the exempted countries, some of the countries granted waivers share a border with the Democratic Republic of Congo or located nearby. Sharing a border to the East are Burundi and Rwanda.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is located in Central Africa.

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