Coronavirus quarantine costs soar to nearly $85,000 and is expected to rise, says health minister
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Health officials yesterday confirmed six people have been released from quarantine after they showed no symptoms of the novel coronavirus.
The World Health Organization announced the official name for the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as COVID-19.
To date, there remains no suspected, reported or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas. Currently, there are more than forty-four thousand (44,000) cases confirmed on Mainland China, with at least one thousand (1000) deaths with spread to at least twenty-seven (27) countries.
The Ministry of Health can advise that update meetings were held with operational stakeholders regarding the implementation of the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan (CPRP).
“The number of persons arriving at Bahamian ports for processing and screening for quarantine measures has declined,” read a Ministry of Health update.
“Currently, four persons have been released from quarantine, and another two persons are expected to be released [yesterday]. The individuals that were monitored and those presently being monitored have shown no symptoms of the virus. Quarantine measures remain set at fourteen (14) days.”
The MOH statement added: Representatives from the Ministry of Health will be visiting Grand Bahama tomorrow to meet with relevant stakeholder groups on that island.
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.
Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands told reporters outside Cabinet yesterday that two of those individuals have already been released.
Asked about costs to house those Bahamians, Sands said “We think it’s been between $75,000 and $85,00 so far.
“Again that’s what the total process has been thus far when you include accommodations, food, security, transportation etc.
“That does not include the cost of the personal protective equipment (PPE), which would have been part of our emergency plan anyway.
“We expect that number to rise.”
The health minister noted that those individuals are being held in a safe place, but would not disclose the location.
“Some people are quite comfortable where they are, some people wish that the accommodations were slightly different but thus far things have worked out quite well,” he said.
Addressing concerns of adequate space and resources to house those quarantined, Sands said: “The public health team have outlined strategies for all of the islands of the Bahamas that will accommodate any need that would present itself and this far we have managed to deal with the quarantine quite effectively.”
He further applauded Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillian and her team for their continued hard work and efforts to help prevent the spread of the disease in The Bahamas.
Wuhan City, the epicenter of the virus which is home to some 11 million people and several Bahamians, remain on lockdown.
The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak “a public health emergency of international concern”.
The virus has spread to at least 24 countries, and now has more than 42,000 cases confirmed on Mainland China, with 1,017 deaths – one occurring in the United States.
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.