July 21, 2021
FOLLOWING a COVID-19 outbreak at the Passport Office, Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield said officials are now looking at alternative sites to facilitate the collection of passports.
In a statement released earlier this week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that several staff members had tested positive for COVID-19.
Ministry officials also confirmed the death of an employee due to the virus.
The positive cases and worker’s death prompted the closure of the Passport Office on Thompson Boulevard on Monday and Tuesday to allow the Ministry of Health’s surveillance team to conduct a proper contact tracing assessment of staff.
Speaking to reporters about the issue yesterday, Mr Henfield suggested that workers may have contracted the virus after being exposed to a number of clients at the office.
“Coming out of this COVID environment, we had some relaxation in the way that people were fully vaccinated wanted to travel. There seemed to be some pent-up frustrations that kinda overwhelmed our collection area where we had gatherings that were not workable in the climate that we’re in and so we had somewhat of an outbreak,” he said before going to a Cabinet meeting.
“Unfortunately, one of our staff members passed and we believe it’s due to the pandemic. Four others have been affected and several others have now been contact traced and are now in quarantine and so we’re looking at alternative sites and I want to publicly extend my condolences to her family. She was a wonderful worker as we understand it.
“We’re looking now for alternative sites that we’ll be able to collect passport drop offs and collection sites that will be more doable in this environment that we find ourselves... and we’re going to have a collection site I believe we’re talking about the Marathon Mall and possibly another site we will use.”
Mr Henfield acknowledged that services will be affected because of the office’s closure.
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