Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday that the government has spent roughly $80,000 so far to quarantine Bahamians returning from China amid a coronavirus epidemic.
“We think it’s been between $75,000 and $85,000 so far,” he said outside Cabinet.
“That’s what the total process has been thus far when you include accommodations, food, security, transportation, etc.
“Now that does not include the cost of the personal protective equipment, which would have been a part of our emergency supplies anyway.
“We expect that number to rise, but as of today, a back of the envelope estimate [is] around $80,000.”
A new coronavirus strain, recently named COVID-19, first appeared in Wuhan, China, in late December. Since then, over 1,000 people have died from the virus, and there have been over 40,000 confirmed infections.
There have been reported cases in 24 other countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Earlier this week, the Ministry of Health said 15 Bahamians were quarantined.
However, Sands said yesterday that number has decreased slightly.
“I believe that we are down to 13 people under quarantine,” he said.
“Different people start their quarantine at different times and they will end it at different times.
“So, thus far, there remains no suspected or actual cases of the novel coronavirus in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas as of today.”
Sands said he is confident that while some under quarantine have not been entirely happy with the accommodations, he believes they are more than adequate.
“Some people are quite comfortable where they are,” he said.
“Some people wish that the accommodations were slightly different. But thus far, things have worked out quite well.”
He added, “The public health team has outlined strategies for all of the islands of The Bahamas that would accommodate any need that would present itself. And thus far, we have managed to deal with the quarantine quite effectively.”