Opposition calls on govt. to consider Cuban anti-viral drug in COVID-19 fight
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis today cautioned the government on the use of executive powers during state of public emergency.
Davis called for an “aggressive” random testing regime and targeted containment as the nation fights the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Our party intends to watch and monitor carefully the exercise of these extraordinary powers to be sure that these powers are used for the benefit of the Bahamian people,” Davis said in a statement.
“I however note that to date, there has been no reported case of non-compliance by Bahamians to any guideline and public service announcement issued by the government on COVID-19.
“We commend them for their continued cooperation.
“In light of this, the opposition cautions the government not to overreach on our civil liberties.
“Further, I call on them to seriously consider the three key components of testing, effective medication and containment as they work to identify patient zero through this proclamation.
“An aggressive random testing regime coupled with a strategy of targeted containment has proven to be an effective preventative measure as evidenced by a relatively low viral transmission rate in countries like Singapore and South Korea.”
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis laid the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations, 2020, in Parliament today, giving the prime minister and government wide-sweeping powers to allow for mandatory detention, isolation, and curfew; requisition of any building, ship or aircraft; and criminalizes the posting or sharing of “fake news”.
Under the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations, 2020, the competent authority is defined as the prime minister.
It is unclear when these measures will be activated.
Former Attorney General Alfred Sears, QC, today recommended the establishment of a Tribunal for review of cases of detention, restriction and requisition of private property to safeguard the public.
Governor General CA Smith signed a proclamation order for a public state of emergency over the health threat on Tuesday.
There have been three confirmed cases of the virus, which causes COVID-19.
Today, Davis said to facilitate the eradication of COVID-19, the government should strongly consider accessing the retroviral drug Interferon Alpha-2b through the Cuban government.
Among the thirty medicines the Chinese National Health Commission selected to fight the virus in China — the epicenter of the virus — was the Cuban anti-viral drug being tried in the fight against COVID-19.
According to The Star, Jamaican government officials are set to hold discussions with Cuba to get more information on the drug, which is among the medications
“I advise that The Bahamas government access Interferon A-B2 through the regional bloc of CARICOM as part of our successful program of functional cooperation on health, national emergencies and disaster management,” Davis said.
“There are also economies of scale that can be exploited or realized through this procurement process. I raise these critical issues to underscore the need for all of us to be prepared and to leave no stone unturned in this national fight.
“Bahamians are encouraged to continue their cooperation with official directives and guidelines so that together we can put this existential threat behind us in the shortest possible time and return to a life of normalcy.”