CRIPPLING EFFECT: AID president warns COVID-related staff shortages could significantly disrupt businesses

CRIPPLING EFFECT: AID president warns COVID-related staff shortages could significantly disrupt businesses
(FILE)

Watson urges govt to change two-week quarantine to 5 days

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The mandated 14-day quarantine period, coupled with the omicron COVID variant’s extreme transmissibility, has the potential to “cripple businesses” with staff shortages, one local businessman has warned.

Affordable testing is widely available, with immediate results, so there is no need for such a long quarantine period.

– AID President Jason Watson

Jason Watson, AID’s president, told Eyewitness News: “Fortunately, the most recent variant seems to cause very mild symptoms, especially in those that are vaccinated.

“However, I am very concerned because the 14-day quarantine period, coupled with the extreme transmissibility of the omicron variant, has the potential to cripple businesses with staff shortages.”

Watson added: “Affordable testing is widely available, with immediate results, so there is no need for such a long quarantine period.

“Hopefully, the government will reduce the quarantine period to five days and a negative antigen test, which will greatly reduce disruptions and additional costs to businesses and society in general.”

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Michael Darville.

Health and Wellness Minister Dr Michael Darville said last week the government is discussing the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) advice for changing the isolation period, which stands at 10 days in The Bahamas, to five days for asymptomatic individuals, followed by five days of wearing a mask around others — a standard practice for those who have not been exposed.

Darville said it is important for frontline workers, especially those critical to the healthcare sector, to be able to return to work as quickly and as safely as possible.

“We are watching the CDC recommendations and much discussion is going on, particularly with our first responders,” Darville told the media.

“It is very difficult in our hospital to have the bulk of the staff out when there is a possibility to bring them back in earlier.

“Likewise, for our police officers, our immigration officers, our customs officers — all of these individuals are necessary for [our] country to function.”