Beckles: Private sector closely monitoring Coronavirus fall-out

Beckles: Private sector closely monitoring Coronavirus fall-out
Jeffrey Beckles

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The private sector continues to keep a close eye on the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, both in terms of the protocols established locally in response to the threat and its overall impact to the global supply matrix, according to the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation’s chief executive.

Jeffrey Beckles told Eyewitness News while no major concerns have been expressed locally on the issue, the private sector is monitoring the fall-out.

“Obviously everyone is monitoring the situation,” he said.

“There are two issues, one is making sure that we do everything that is necessary on our end in terms of protocols and secondly everyone is watching the global trade matrix because China is such a major player not only in exports but also the import of material to support heir manufacturing networks.

“There hasn’t been any wide spread concern expressed over the issue but everyone is watching to make sure the protocols that are in place are strengthened. Obviously we are watching the supply matrix.”

Pia Farmer, a director at Easy Car sales, said while the company has experienced a short delay regarding vehicle shipments, the outbreak should not have a major impact on its operations.

Easy Car Sales is the local dealer for the China-based BYD electric vehicle brand.

“We had expected a break for Chinese New Year/Spring Holiday until Monday 10th February,” Farmer said.

“Most people went back to work from home at that time so we were able to connect remotely and there was little disruption. We received confirmation today that export shipments will resume shortly.

“The factories were the last to get on stream, most have started production outside the worst hit areas, and new orders are being accepted. There has been a short delay but it should not have a major effect as shipments were already on their way before the virus hit.”

To date, there remains no suspected, reported or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas.

Currently, there are more than 44,000 cases confirmed on Mainland China, with at least 1,000 deaths with spread to at least 27 countries.

The government has implemented a travel ban, blocking entry into the country to any non-resident who has visited China in the last 20 days and places all returning residents from the country in quarantine for 14 days.

The Ministry of Health’s Novel Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan has been developed and distributed to Bahamian ports of entry and health care facilities – focusing on monitoring and evaluating the risk of the introduction of virus to The Bahamas.