NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Chinese Community Association of The Bahamas has seen a drop in Bahamians patronizing their members’ businesses, namely restaurants, since the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus in China.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Lloyd Wong, treasurer of the association and proprietor of China Garden restaurant, said the Chinese community in The Bahamas is just as mindful of ensuring the virus does not spread to The Bahamas.
“It is a very dangerous situation and we don’t want it here in The Bahamas,” Wong said.
“What people say is some people might be in China during the New Year and come back with the Coronavirus, and they are afraid to come to the restaurants and buy food and stuff like that. That’s maybe one issue there.
“We already had a period of quarantine. Those that came from China have already passed the incubation period, so anybody who is here from China or who has been to China should be clear now.
“If any cases do come in it will be from the airline, whoever has contact, because with Coronavirus it spreads from person to person.”
He continued: “I think people are scared. A lot of people are scared. I think there is some drop. I don’t know that some people are scared. New York has been affected also and Nassau. Nobody really wants to go out until there may be an antidote for it.”
The respiratory illness, which originated in Wuhan, China, has now spread across more than 28 countries globally and continues to threaten entry into more borders.
In efforts to prevent the outbreak from making its way to Bahamian shores, the government implemented a travel ban, blocking entry into the country to any non-resident who has visited China in the last 20 days and placed all returning residents from the country in quarantine for 14 days.
According to Wong, there is a prejudicial environment in The Bahamas that Chinese nationals have endured, but become accustomed.
He said: “That’s human nature. From the time of the oil, you know, they say recycle oil, gutter oil, people posted things online saying these people were doing gutter oil. People are fearful that they’re doing it, but they are not doing it over here. People always put the wrong information out.”
Wong said Chinese people in The Bahamas are just as mindful of protecting the Bahamian community, of which they are apart, as anyone else.
“If any new cases that we know come in we would report them, who may have slipped by,” he said. “We will tell someone in government this person slipped by; keep an eye on them; don’t let them go around in the community.
“Nobody wants to catch it and everyone is afraid; not just locals here. We are all afraid. We have children to protect; children and babies to protect. We are very mindful of it and the persons who are in charge of the infectious diseases in the Ministry of Health is also a Chinese, of Chinese heritage — Dr. [Nikkiah] Forbes.”
Heslth officials have assured that aggressive measures have been taken by all stakeholders to ensure the Bahamian border is protected and adequate measures are in place to monitor, detect and contain the spread of the virus if it ever reached the country.
According to the World Health Organization, there were nearly 71,500 confirmed cases of the virus globally as of Tuesday, of which 70,600 are on mainland China.
There have been nearly 1,800 deaths as a result of the virus, with three occurring outside of China.
Additionally, nearly 11,000 people previously infected have recovered fully as the world continues to work on a cure for the new strain.