Turnquest: Coronavirus could impact revenue

The new coronavirus, COVID-19, could impact government revenue, Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday.

“[T]he associated downside effects of the recent coronavirus could place a potential drag on spending and on revenue if the travel sector is impacted materially,” he said.

“We will continue to monitor these developments closely, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health.”

Turnquest said the government has allocated $4 million in additional funding to deal with the virus, but more may be needed.

“If necessary, the government will supplement this funding to provide whatever resources are required to avoid, or in a worse case, to minimize the infection and the spread of the virus throughout the population.”

Up to press time yesterday, there were over 95,000 cases of the illness worldwide with over 3,000 deaths, including 11 in the U.S.

The Ministry of Health has unveiled its preparation plan for dealing with the disease, while Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced on Sunday that the government “will take no chances” in attempting to prevent it from reaching the country’s shores.

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands yesterday tabled a quarantine order, which declared the Republic of China will be recognized as an “infected place” for six months due to the coronavirus outbreak there.

“Anybody who has been within the confines of the People’s Republic of China within the last 20 days who are non-residents will be denied entry,” he said.

“Bahamians will be quarantined.”

He added, “We have said six months. If we have to go longer, then we’ll have to extend it.”

The Centers for Disease Control recently warned U.S. residents to expect an outbreak of the illness as the cases of infections continue to rise.

Last week, Sands said it’s not a question of “if” but “when” COVID-19 will reach The Bahamas.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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