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‘We will take no chances’

The Bahamas government will take no chances with the new coronavirus known as COVID-19 which has impacted country’s around the world, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis assured yesterday.

His statement on the issue came hours after it was revealed that an Italian tourist in the Dominican Republic was diagnosed with coronavirus, the first case in the region.

“I want to be clear that when it comes to public health threats the government will not take any chances,” Minnis said.

“We take this outbreak very seriously.

“We will utilize the resources necessary to ensure the safety of all Bahamians and residents. Public health is an absolute priority.

“I have been monitoring this on a daily basis and getting regular updates from health officials.”

Minnis said there are still no suspected or confirmed cases of the virus in The Bahamas.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillan noted yesterday that the dynamics of the outbreak are changing, with more new cases now being recorded outside China than in the country where the virus originated on December 31.

There have been more than 85,000 cases of COVID-19 across the globe with infections on every continent except Antarctica.

Nearly 3,000 people have died.

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

However, he assured that the country is “absolutely” capable of handling the situation that would arise, pointing to the Ministry of Health’s recently released COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan. Minnis yesterday urged the public to pay attention to only official information sources.

“I would like to urge the public to rely on certified, credible sources of information to stay up to date and properly informed about COVID-19 in The Bahamas,” he said.

“Misinformation, which can spread rapidly, causes distress and panic and has the potential to undermine the public health response.”

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.

The Bahamian government has an ongoing travel ban against all non-Bahamas residents who have visited China from 20 days prior to January 30.

The Ministry of Health’s response plan also calls for the establishment of remote field hospitals for potential COVID-19 patients, which Sands said would be able to accommodate up to 20 patients.

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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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