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Free COVID testing next year, press secretary says

The government is expected to roll out free COVID-19 testing in the first quarter of 2022, Office of the Prime Minister Press Secretary Clint Watson said yesterday.

He said the government is working on a system for the rollout.

“With free testing comes an important system which is contact tracing and we want to strengthen that,” Watson said.

“We’re not pleased with where contact tracing is yet and the system that is used to contact trace. We believe that when we wrap up testing, free testing, we need to ensure that contact tracing works, so that we benefit from the program.

“So, what’s happening now is we’re securing more people and going through more training and upgrading the programs. Once that happens, we expect testing to begin sometime in the first quarter of next year.

Free testing was a key campaign promise for the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) ahead of the general election.

However, more than two months after the general election, which saw the party swept into office after securing the large majority of seats in Parliament, that promise has yet to be fulfilled.

On Monday, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Michael Darville said he wants to be certain that the program is functioning properly when it’s rolled out, so that it does not have to be put on hold.

“We’re not quite ready yet and I do not want to activate free testing and have to pull it back because all of the possible pitfalls or challenges as a result of it are not taken into consideration,” he said.

There has been a notable decrease in the number of new COVID cases reported by the Ministry of Health over the last month. The number of people in hospitals with COVID-19 has also decreased.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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