COVID positive Barbadians in isolation are being encouraged to stay put on election day, January 19.
Head of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit, Ronald Chapman, indicated that persons at the Harrison’s Point Isolation Facility or any other isolation facility, and those in home isolation would be required to remain where they are.
However, attorney-at-law and Deputy Chairman of the Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Hal Gollop has cautioned that the issue had a “strong legal element” suggesting that any decision should be deferred until the legal adviser to the Commission expressed an opinion.
Chapman said he understands that voting is a cornerstone of democracy, however, the country was still in a pandemic and COVID positive people were infectious.
“We wouldn’t want those persons to go out to a polling station where we know that we have all cadres of Barbadians there,” Chapman said.
He is also encouraging persons who feeling ill to stay home.
Chapman explained that the Ministry of Health and Wellness recently announced the Omicron variant in Barbados, and warned that it was even more infectious than the Delta strain.
“They have to be able to err on the side of continuity of the country as much as possible. I recognise… it is a tough pill to swallow. It is a tough pill to swallow for anyone … who wants to be a part of this process. But we have to be our brother’s keeper,” he said.
However, Chapman made it clear that he was not saying people who were COVID-19 positive could not vote.
He said protocols were in place to deal with situations where people exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or who are asymptomatic to be processed quickly to reduce the risk to others.
Barbadians will go to the poll on January 19.
Nomination day will be on Monday, January 3.