Davis raises alarm over Govt.’s preparedness for Coronavirus

Davis raises alarm over Govt.’s preparedness for Coronavirus
Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip Davis speaks to media during his monthly briefing at the party's headquarters.

COVID-19 threatens Bahamians “way of life”, says PLP leader

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday expressed concerns about the government’s level of preparedness and response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Davis underscored that as the virus spreads across the United States’ eastern seaboard, the government’s plans remain vague.

He made the remark at a press conference at PLP headquarters.

“The prime minister was too general and generic in his official response to the looming health crisis,” the PLP leader said.

“The prime minister did not reveal the level of resource allocation and how it will be spent and allocated.

“We are concerned that at this late stage he is only indicated the intention of the government to set up a national coordination committee to focus on this issue.

“There are no details on the composition and mandate of the task force that will supervise and coordinate the national response to this COVID-19 issue.”

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said Sunday the virus represents a grave threat to the safety and security of The Bahamas. He assured the nation is capable of containing and combating the virus, and has been actively shoring up its health institutions in preparation for the potential threat.

He announced the government will establish a national coordinating committee that will include relevant civil society stakeholders and government representatives.

He did not indicate when that commitment will be established.

The Ministry of Health has developed a national preparedness and response plan to ensure readiness and response to the virus in the event in affects The Bahamas,

According to officials, the ministry has partially convened its emergency operating center

On Tuesday, Davis said the virus represents a serious threat to the nation given its tourism relationship with China; the nearly 100 confirmed cases and at least six deaths in the United States; a confirmed case in the Caribbean and the declaration of a health emergency in Florida.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed two cases of coronavirus in Florida on Monday, as officials continued to discuss preparations for the virus.

He questioned whether there was sufficient health protocols for international flights arriving in The Bahamas, saying he was advised that officials did not question a Bahamian returning from an international trip about her itinerary.

He did not provide further details on the passenger or where she travelled.

However, Davis assured the PLP’s stands ready to assist, insisting “we are all in this together”.

He said: “We encourage all Bahamians to be cooperative and vigilant as our way of life and future is at stake.”

More than 89,000 people have been affected across 58 countries.

The global death toll has exceeded 3,000.

More countries reported their first case on Sunday and Monday, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Tunisia, Scotland, Czech Republic and the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean.