Barbados has accused the United States of seizing medical equipment in transit amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Health Minister Lt. Col Jeffrey Bostic said in a briefing on Sunday that 20 ventilators had been seized, reports the Miami Herald.


“Those ventilators were actually stopped in the United States, the exportation of those 20 ventilators,” he said.

He initially said the ventilators seized were those donated by Rihanna, which he later corrected. The ventilators confiscated were donated by a philanthropist. Five of the ventilators donated by the Grammy award-winning singer are set to arrive soon.


“They were seized in the United States. Paid for, but seized, so we are trying to see exactly what is going to transpire there,” he said. “But I remind you that ventilators are one of the most in-demand items in the world today and Barbados is merely wrestling with the other 203 countries and territories around the world seeking to secure as many of these pieces of equipment as possible.”


Barbados currently has 48 ventilators in their possession, and only three of the island’s 56 COVID-19 diagnosed patients need one, reports Barbados Today. Bostic said there is no shortage of medical supplies.

“So it is absurd for anyone to say, suggest, imply or insinuate that there is a shortage or could in the foreseeable future be an acute shortage of ventilators on the island,” Bostic said. “We have an adequate amount of ventilators at this point and ventilators have been arriving almost daily over the past two weeks or so. But up to this point, we have only had to use three ventilators.”

Other countries including China, Germany and France have accused President Trump of holding medical equipment intended for them.

Berlin’s Interior Minister Andreas GeiseI called it an “act of modern piracy” and likened it to “wild wild west methods.”

“This is not how you deal with transatlantic partners,” he told German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.

A State Department spokesperson said that some media reports about seized medical equipment may not be accurate.

“We remain concerned about pervasive attempts to divide international efforts through unsourced, unattributed disinformation campaigns,” a spokesperson said.

Barbados reported their first COVID-19-related death on Sunday: an 81-year-old man who suffered from diabetes and pneumonia, reports The New York Times. The country has now conducted 527 tests.