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TCI Ministry of Health announces COVID-19 Testing is Being Instituted in Country

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#TurksandCaicosIslands – April 19, 2020 — The Ministry of Health is pleased to inform the general public that the Government is now in receipt of our first PCR analyzer; MIC qPCR Cycler- 4 Channel Unit. This machine was cleared out of customs on Friday afternoon, April 17, 2020. This analyzer is now in the Government’s Public Health Laboratory.

PCR Analyzer

Virtual training for the Medical Laboratory Technologists on operating, care, and maintenance of this particular PCR analyzer will immediately take place.

The PCR test is the gold standard throughout the world for testing and confirming the presence of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. It detects the genetic information of the virus, the RNA. That is only possible if the virus is present and someone is actively infected.”

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In contrast to antibody testing, PCR tests directly detect the presence of the virus, rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies, towards the virus. By detecting viral genetic material, which will be present in the body before antibodies form or symptoms of the disease are present, the tests can tell whether or not someone has the virus very early on.

“PCR is the most accurate and conclusive test for early detection of the virus in persons who are infected.

PCR Analyzer

Testing with the COVID-19 PCR Analyzer is intended for use by trained clinical laboratory personnel specifically instructed and trained in the techniques of real-time PCR and in vitro diagnostic procedures.

Before the general use of this analyzer begins, the laboratory is mandated to perform all quality assurance measures; negative and positive controls must be run; validation of the accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of the testing system.

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The first batch of patient samples tested on the PCR analyzer would also be sent to the respective reference laboratories for comparing and contrasting results, which is also a part of our quality assurance.

The PCR analyzer can perform 48 test per batch, each batch can be analyzed in the fast time of 25 minutes. Additional time would be required for sample extraction and preparation.

The Ministry of Health, is jubilant that the Government now has the ability to immediately carry out additional testing on: persons currently in quarantine, contact persons of positive or suspected cases, persons in need of urgent medical care, and persons who may qualify to be placed in quarantine. In addition, the Ministry of Health is now in the position to roll out the strategy and protocols for wide spread community testing throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands, which will give Government and Health officials accurate information on the prevalence of this Coronavirus strain in our country.

It is my Government’s mandate to fully form, and coordinate, local and international multi-sector partnerships with all key stakeholders, in our local fight of this global COVID-19 Pandemic. This includes private healthcare providers and private laboratories.

Edwin Astwood, TCI Minister of Health Agriculture Sports & Human Services, file photo

To this end, my ministry is finalizing the regulations, protocols, and guidelines aimed at ensuring there are proper reporting and notifying, and that the necessary provisions are in place for ensuring the that all COVID-19 testing carried out for TCI residents are carried out in accordance with accepted international guidelines and quality standards, and that the relevant public health protocols are adhered to.”

As Minister of Health, I am committed to continued strengthening of the response to COVID-19. As such, the Ministry will be receiving more PCR analyzers, and is actively reviewing all COVID-19 Antibody Quick Test for procuring the most reliable testing system, for inclusion into our existing testing protocols.

The Ministry of Health will continue to update the general public on further developments in this area, and all other aspects of this COVID-19 Pandemic.

TCIG Press Release

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Bahamas News

Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam 

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

 

February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.

The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.

The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent  or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.

Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.

Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.

Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.

Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.

The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.

The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.

For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.

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Bahamas News

TCI Office in Bahamas identified 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – An office space has already been identified for an all-new TCI Immigration office in The Bahamas according to Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services.

Musgrove told Magnetic Media that the ministry was “almost there” in regard to securing the space; it indicates the Government is moving full speed ahead with plans for the passing of the new Immigration Bill which will allow third-generation TC Islanders citizenship, even as the public awaits consultations on it.

The announcement of the bill had caused some skepticism among islanders, some of whom wanted the government to focus on keeping TC Islanders at home instead of recruiting others.  Musgrove however had made it clear that the TCI was in a population crisis and would need to slow down PRC naturalisation rates and naturalise people with historical, familial and cultural connections to the land or risk going ‘extinct’.

The office will work to deepen the relationship between the two sister countries even more and help increase the TCI’s population offsetting the need for masses of external labour according to the government.

When passed, the rule will apply to third-generation islanders everywhere, not only in The Bahamas giving them a free ticket to come home.

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Caribbean News

The Shore Club makes Travel + Leisure 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – The Shore Club is the perfect place to escape the cold with your family according to well-known travel magazine, Travel + Leisure at least.  The Turks and Caicos resort was featured in the worldwide magazine’s January feature last month.

“It’s hard to overstate the grandness of our accommodations,” travel writer Hannah Selinger gushed as she described the luxurious Shore Club experience that retails for around $750 per night.

The resort owned by Stan Hartling, 2021 TCI Humanitarian of the Year, was lauded for its use of local materials including coral harvested in Long Bay on which the property resides.  The writer was particularly impressed with the expansive space and multiple amenities at the resort which even when significantly booked “never feels even remotely full”.

She described the food and the entirety of her experience as ‘extremely satisfying’.

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