Dr. Michael Darville, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) spokesperson for health, expressed concern that not enough is being done to prevent the new coronavirus, COVID-19, from entering The Bahamas.
“This potential public health crisis is fluid and conditions are changing rapidly, so it is necessary for us to be both proactive and nimble in our response,” he said in a statement issued Sunday night, following a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister to address the matter.
“We note the announcement today that the first official case in the Caribbean was diagnosed in the Dominican Republic. With direct international flights to other Family Islands, including San Salvador, it is essential that we move urgently to put in place at all ports of entry in each of the Family Islands all of the necessary protocols to ensure the safety of our residents.
“Additionally, there have to be specific response guidelines for the workplace, our schools and public spaces and they must be island specific due to the structure and function of family island communities vis-a-vis large population centers.”
Darville also questioned whether the government is planning for the financial impacts of the global outbreak of the virus.
“The prime minister also did not say what the government’s contingency plan was for potential economic fallout from the impact of COVID-19,” he said.
“The PLP stands ready to assist and again I encourage all Bahamians to be co-operative and vigilant in these circumstances as our way of life and future are literally at stake.”
There have been nearly 90,000 cases of COVID-19 across the globe with infections on every continent except Antarctica.
Over 3,000 people have died.
According to international media reports, there have been 96 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and six deaths. Yesterday, it was announced that there were two cases in Florida. On Sunday, it was revealed that an Italian tourist in the Dominican Republic was diagnosed with the virus.
Last week, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said it’s not a question of “if” but “when” COVID-19 will reach The Bahamas.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised that information from the World Health Organization is being used to determine what precautions should be taken. The ministry encouraged Bahamians to avoid non-essential travel to affected areas.