It’s Obvious

I suppose we have been blessed that we experienced lockdown in Barbados. Tell you why what for. Barbados doesn’t mess around. It doesn’t – once the pandemic took hold on the island – debate whether the use of face masks is a risk to your civil liberties. It doesn’t leave it up to your discretion whether or not you wear one. No, in Barbados you wear a mask.

You dont spend time wondering if health resources can cope in Barbados. You dont let it come to that. This is because this is a small and densely populated island without the ability to fully feed itself and that’s about all the chance you need to know. Barbados is effectively poor – not in quality of life or strength of spirit.

The way people smile on the street at you is ample proof of this, and I’m old enough to sniff out whether a smile is real or not. Barbados is rich in the beauty of its people even if it doesn’t know its own wealth. But actual money-wise, Barbados cant afford to get sick.

Very low transmission rate if both parties wear a mask? What’s the confusion? And to help you out, Barbados sells a wide variety of very pretty tropical-patterned masks. Sold in most shops on the island. You can support the many older Barbadian ladies at home who are making them. And you still wont buy one?

Today, on the first day in which Barbados announced it had zero active cases, Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced the re-opening of the international airport and the restart of the tourist economy. The timing. No wonder she is the PM.

The plan is that anyone entering the country must have a PCR-based antigen test (PCR scientists should themselves be collectively winning the Nobel Prize this year. I’ve worked with amplifying DNA using Polymerase Chain Reaction and I don’t care what the doubters say: it is not easy. Take a tiny piece of DNA and amplify it using reagents and gel electrophoresis. And this now on a global scale.

Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah. So Barbados is due to test everyone. And if you haven’t had the test before you get here – stamped as part of your travel documents – you have to have it after you get here. And stay in a government hotel/facility until you get the results.

I’m a member of a number of Barbados FB groups. I like to read the craic. Many tourists started to write after the announcement, saying they were confused with what even this test was and where could they get one. Me? Eyebrows up, lips pursed, shaking my head. I really have been here a while.

In Barbados, this test is free. You call a government number helpline and either attend the testing point, down on the military base, or they will literally come to you. Literally everyone on island knows that.

We wear masks in public places, practise common sense social distancing and know that the coronavirus test is free and everyone can easily get one. We know the quarantine facility is up at Harrison’s Point. We know no one wants the virus in Barbados and people are not secondary to the economy. We know it because the PM told us.

Oh dear. How are we going to leave this place? The pandemic has changed us all. For s/v Quest, we may have become Bajan.

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