Statement by Senator Dr. Michael Darville, Opposition spokesman on Health and co-chairman of the PLP’s COVID-19 taskforce On government’s decision to expand contact tracing

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STATEMENT:

Sen. Michael Darville

The PLP takes note of the recent announcement by the Minister of Health, Renward Wells, of the government’s decision to expand its contact tracing capacity.

The PLP has called for this measure on numerous occasions and supports this policy decision as a step in the right direction. This expansion will place the government’s contact tracing component of its overall COVID-19 strategy more in line with international best practices given the science supporting the behavior of COVID-19. Research by Havard University stressed the need to contact and test those who have been identified as coming into contact with a positive subject within twenty-four hours of the COVID-19 exposure. This rapid response will contain and limit community spread of the virus as a sizable percentage of those spreading the virus are asymptomatic carriers.

The lack of contact tracing capacity has been an inherent institutional weakness in this government’s strategy to contain the community spread of COVID-19.

This expansion in the contact tracing regime must be augmented with free testing and expanded random testing, not just of those who present themselves to health clinics and the ER with COVID-19 related respiratory symptoms.

The PLP’s published ten point plan is structured around proven scientific protocols and it is our belief that if fully implemented, this plan will have a positive impact in reducing the community spread of COVID-19. We therefore urge the government to avail itself if this plan in the public interest.

The PLP always stands ready to assist the country in this critical fight as we are in this fight together and we must win this battle together.