Brennen: Testing for all is current protocol

Brennen: Testing for all is current protocol
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Delon Brennen (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Health officials have maintained their recommendation that all people entering The Bahamas must be tested prior to entry, said Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Delon Brennen yesterday.

In an interview with Eyewitness News, Brennen noted that while a final decision has not been made on entry protocols, the country must be very vigilant about the way it incrementally opens its borders.

The first phase of the government’s tourism reopening began yesterday, with stakeholders testing the market, as the country moves towards officially reopening to international commercial travel on July 1.

“What we have right now is that for everyone who comes in the country, they need to be tested and that is the current position and that’s the position we support,” Brennan said.

He noted that their position would have to be considered when determining the timing and particulars behind people not needing to be tested to come to the country,

“We would have to see when our position would change to a position where what is the timing behind people not needing to be tested to come to the country.

“…but as of right now, our recommendation is that persons be tested prior to arriving – both Bahamians and non-Bahamians.”

Brennen’s comments come amid widespread concerns raised over the testing protocol for travelers once the country full reopens.

To date, there have been 104 confirmed COVID-19 cases in The Bahamas – 82 on New Providence, eight on Grand Bahama, 13 on Bimini, and one in Cat Cay.

The last case – confirmed on Sunday – was a 66-year-old man with a history of travel.

Brennen advised that the man had traveled to the United States in recent weeks. He however could not confirm if the man was among those who traveled during the government’s “repatriation” exercises.

He explained that at this point in The Bahamas’ COVID-19 fight, cases that happen in the country are likely to be imported cases.

We expect that our cases that happen in the country at this point are likely to be imported cases

“As we have been seeing around the world in countries where they essentially arrested community transmission; their new cases tend to come up due to imported persons who are coming into the country,” Brennan said.

“This is expected for us, and I think it shows that we are paying attention to our surveillance, our contact tracing, and being able to pick up cases quickly, to make sure that we don’t end up with issues of further community spread once we pick up new cases.”

There are more than $8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally including at least 435,000 deaths. Of that number, the United States has confirmed nearly 2.1 million cases and 116,000 deaths.
The country has seen a surge in cases amidst anti-racist and police brutality protests, in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Asked about the matter, Brennen said: “We have to make sure that we pay attention to who’s coming into the country, we have the appropriate information so that we can do contact tracing. When testing is needed we need to make sure that it is in place, and that we have the capacities to house a person in healthcare institutions if and when that is necessary as well, to make sure we don’t promulgate additional community spread when we do pick up cases, as we do expect that we will pick up cases.”

In recent days, there has been rising fear over a possible resurgence of the virus in Beijing, China. The Chinese capital has recorded 79 new cases since July 12 – the first locally transmitted infection confirmed in nearly two months. Chinese officials have reintroduced strict lockdown measures and rolling out mass testing.

Officials indicate that the cases are linked to Xinfadi market in the southwest of the city, which supplies most of the capital’s fresh fruit and vegetables.

But Brennen said this is not a major cause of concern, given that similar trends are being seen worldwide with the importation of the virus.
“While it’s not necessarily surprising that we are seeing it, or worrisome, it’s just the pattern that we are seeing around the world, so we have to pay attention and learn the lessons of it here in The Bahamas and make sure we put the appropriate systems in place to address it when it comes to our shores.”

So far, some 2,285 tests have been conducted in the country.

1 comments

Test is all and good but I have contacted 3 institutions about getting tested before I travel to the Bahamas. They will NOT test me unless I have symptoms of the virus. I feel GREAT and follow ALL the guidelines in place for protection. So catch 22 If I have to be tested before entering the Bahamas I can’t be for I am healthy.

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