The government of Barbados have approached Cuba for 100 specialist nurses to aid in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health and Wellness Minister Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic made the disclosure that the Cuban government has approved this island’s request for technical assistance and details were being hashed out.

“We received confirmation from the Ambassador of Cuba that the Cuban government has approved our request for technical assistance and we are working on the details to get at least 100 specialist nurses from Cuba and one doctor in charge at this time and the Government of Barbados is grateful to the Government of Cuba to be able to facilitate this,” Bostic stated.

He said this was extremely important due to the scope of the quarantine and isolation facilities, which would place a strain on the existing staff of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).

“We recognise the need to be able to cover some gaps, to be able to provide for rotation, so that those isolation and quarantine facilities are full staffed. So this is certainly some very good news as far as the Ministry of Health and Wellness is concerned,” he added.

Speaking during the Lower House’s debate on the QEH (Amendment) Bill 2020, he revealed the Winston Scott Polyclinic would continue to offer a 24-hour service, while two other such medical facilities would function for extended hours.

“In spite of the measures indicated by the Prime Minister and Attorney General, the Winston Scott Polyclinic 24-hour service will remain a 24-hour service. We also have extended hours service at the Maurice Byer Polyclinic in St. Peter and the Randall Phillips Polyclinic in Christ Church. I will get back to you in terms of how they are going to operate, because we now have to have discussions with the Transport Board to see how the staff of those polyclinics will be able to make it home in time. So that we would make some determinations into exactly what time those extended hours will go to or if we will be able to continue with the extended service. That information will be passed on as soon as possible,” he assured.