While defending the United States’ decision to block the export of critical medical supplies, a U.S. embassy official said today that America will continue to send equipment and supplies that are “not needed” domestically to countries like The Bahamas amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary response measures are challenging governments globally,” the official told The Nassau Guardian.
“The United States is taking action to maintain the commitment of the president to the American people. The United States is continuing to send equipment and supplies not needed domestically to many other countries, including The Bahamas, and we will continue to do more as we are able.”
He added, “Nothing in the president’s actions will interfere with the ability of PPE (personal protective equipment) manufacturers to export when doing so is consistent with United States policy and in the national interest of the United States.”
Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump issued a presidential proclamation directing federal authorities to allocate “scarce or threatened” medical supplies for domestic use amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those supplies include N95 masks and other personal protective equipment like surgical masks and gloves.
This morning, Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands told The Guardian that the proclamation “has serious implications for The Bahamas and other countries”.
“This is a significant logistics challenge right now,” he said.
“We have been appraised that a number of our shipments could not be cleared through U.S. Customs.”
Sands said the items include 15 ventilators, masks, and PPEs.
The embassy is “working closely” with the Bahamian government, including Sands, in an effort “to resolve any issues,” according to the embassy official.
He said the embassy “will continue to support to The Bahamas’ response to the COVID-19 crisis”.