Embassy supports social distancing measures, expanded travel restrictions
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Counselor and Spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Nassau Haigang Yin confirmed China will send The Bahamas medical supplies this week to help shore up its capacity as the nation combats the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Yin said the embassy was following the situation very closely as it understand the “vulnerability of this island country with tourism as its major industry”.
“We have offered some material assistance to the government of The Bahamas,” Yin said.
“At this moment I cannot tell you the details, but I assure the materials are on the way from China to The Bahamas now.”
Yin, who later divulged the support package includes medical supplies, said he expects the delivery to arrive sometime this week.
The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in The Bahamas on Sunday.
A 61-year-woman, who had not travelled in the last 20 days, tested positive for the virus after presenting to Princess Margaret Hospital with a fever and cough.
“It’s a big thing and we have experience in China because the epidemic would be developing very fast,”
“We actually expressed our support to the Bahamian government as your government has done before to China.
“We already shared our experience with the Ministry of Health of The Bahamas and provided the diagnosis and treatment plan, which was prepared by medical experts of China.
“We in the embassy at this moment is in communication with the Ministry of Health and also the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide assistance and support to The Bahamas.”
In a national address on Sunday night, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced the expansion of travel restrictions slated for March 19.
Foreign nationals and foreign individuals who have traveled within the last 20 days from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Europe, will also be prohibited entry into The Bahamas, in addition to South Korea and Iran.
Yin said expanding travel restrictions to reduce the proliferation of COVID-19 has been proven successful to “as an effective approach to contain the spread of the virus”.
Yin was asked whether The Bahamas should move to restrict travel to and from the United States given the nearly 4,000 cases and 69 deaths across 12 states.
He replied: “Talking about whether the United States would be on the list of the travel ban is totally up to the Bahamian government to make the decision.”
The embassy, which has been in close communication with the Chinese community in The Bahamas, has recommended limiting people-to-people contact, and encouraged, where possible, to self-contain.
“We have recommended the Chinese people to stay at home and prevent long trips like taking flights from The Bahamas to China because closed spaces is easy for the virus to spread,” Yin said.
Asked if this was a recommendation of self-quarantine, Yin said: “No. Actually, we suggest for them to take prevention measures in their daily lives. For example, hygiene of the body and reduce attending parties or going to places where they have a lot of people and also we recommend for them to avoid some long trips by flight.”
When asked whether the embassy has recommended Chinese businesses consider temporarily closing, Yin said: “I think at this moment we need to follow the recommendations of the government.”
He said: “About the operation of the businesses of the Chinese community, we ask them to keep alert on the those people who have some symptoms; to keep away from those who have coughs or some similar symptoms.”