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Swabs donated by permanent residents cost $11,250

The 2,500 nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing donated to the Ministry of Health by permanent residents cost the donors $11,250, The Nassau Guardian has confirmed.

Each swab cost $4.50.

Today, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis confirmed that six people — and not two as had initially been reported — were allowed to disembark after they flew into New Providence on a small aircraft last Wednesday.

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said last Thursday: “The Ministry of Health was prepared to receive a donation of 2,500 double-swabbed diagnostic test kits on Wednesday, April 29th from a private donor.

“The approval issued was for the delivery of the cargo only. The whole world is aggressively competing for test kits. They are very hard to obtain.

“As minister of health, I thought that this was a matter of urgency. We then received a last-minute and unexpected request for the donors, who are permanent residents of The Bahamas, and were traveling on the same private plane, to disembark.

“The plane was here and we had to make an urgent decision. The plane was here to make a much-needed donation. I made the decision to let the couple disembark.”

Minnis, who said today that protocols were breached on allowing the group to embark, said the minister will make a further statement on Monday.

In the House of Assembly last Monday, the prime minister said returning Bahamians would have to quarantine in a RBDF-guarded government facility for 14 days.

Bahamas Consul General to Miami Linda Treco-Mackey said they must show a negative COVID-19 test before they are allowed to return home.

The permanent residents in question did not have to test for COVID-19 before flying to The Bahamas. Sands later said they were tested the day after they came in and allowed to quarantine at home.

The prime minister said yesterday that returning Bahamians and residents will now have the option to quarantine at home.

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