Permanent Secretaries have been charged with implementing measures that will minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection among workers in the various government offices and departments.
As such, the administrative heads of government ministries have been tasked by Cabinet to work out practical modalities for human resource deployment between those who can and should be made to work from home.
But even among staff who continue to function from the workplace, there will also be a strong focus on keeping personnel from different units, as separate and isolated as possible from other sections.
This was announced on Wednesday evening by Information Minister Melford Nicholas during the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing. He said the Permanent Secretaries would be briefed by the Cabinet Secretary and the Establishment Division.
“We are going to ask Permanent Secretaries to revert to a position where we can reduce some of the numbers within government offices to the point where we may be able to put persons on rotation. This obviously will be done in consultation with their Minister. But in all instances we want to ensure that even within ministries, and even where people return to work, or are allowed to come to work … to work in clusters, to work in your own bubbles.
“So if you’re in the marketing [department] stay in marketing and do not commingle; such that if there is an infected person – or if it is brought to attention that a person in the marketing department is infected – we would not be worried about the accounts or production departments.”
After confirming that the Jolly Beach Resort has been commissioned as a State quarantine facility, Nicholas said all returning nationals would be fitted with the recently acquired electronic tracking bracelets, regardless of whether they are quarantining at home or at a public quarantine center such as Jolly Beach or other designated facility.
He took the opportunity to clarify that the national isolation facility would be housed at the former US Air Force compound.
“I also want to indicate that there are thirty-two rooms that have been repaired and restored in that facility [which] the Ministry of Health has indicated [will be used] as an isolation facility.”
People are placed in quarantine for fourteen days when their infection status is unknown and test results are being awaited, as this is the time window within which symptoms of infection manifest or can be detected. Once infection is confirmed by testing, and the persons affected do not require hospitalization or critical care, they are then transferred to isolation until recovery or other case termination.
“We are [also] seeking to utilize the Halcyon Cove Resort, given that they are not going to put that back on the market just now, to use that as an isolation facility as well,” Nicholas said.
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