Govt. returns batch of defective COVID-19 tests kits

Govt. returns batch of defective COVID-19 tests kits
Health minister Dr Duane Sands

More than 100 test kits available

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A batch of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus test kits delivered to The Bahamas through the Pan-American Health Organization and “sources in Asia” were defective, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands revealed yesterday.

“The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) kits had to be returned because they were defective,” Sands said during a press conference at the Ministry of Health.

There were 50 test kits for the virus as of last Monday.

He did not place a number on the defective tests.

Sands said the ministry has the capacity to perform more than 100 tests and anticipated “being able to ramp that up”.

He continued: “Every country is actively engaged in its response. Every country has its own unique circumstances and The Bahamas is aggressively focused at our response and preparedness. While we take note on every other country around the world, our emphasis is on keeping Bahamians safe and ensuring that we protect the interest of The Bahamas and Bahamians.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillan said while the Ministry of Health gained the ability to test for the virus in-country as of late February, it has yet to test anyone in The Bahamas as there have been no suspected cases.

As of yesterday, two people remained in quarantine.

Twenty-eight people have been quarantined and subsequently released.

As it relates to increased screening, McMillan said the cruise ship industry is an area the multi-ministerial response task force has to pay keen attention to.

She pointed out cruise liners are required to provide a declaration of health to Bahamian officials, who make a decision as to whether additional public health measures need to be applied prior to the cruise arriving.

“[In] worst case scenario, as would have happened in a number of countries, depending on what it happening, there may need to be a public health measure that says you need to stay on board and then we do certain things in order to protect,” she said.

“But so far, we have not been aware of any situations that way; and we have been working closely with tourism in order to make sure we are getting those health declarations and doing the necessary review.”

When asked about temperature screening at ports of entry — a practice engaged by several other countries — McMillan insisted this has not proven effective with COVID-19 and offers a “false sense of security”.

She said efforts would be better placed on early detection and case management methods.

There are no suspected, reported or confirmed cases of the virus in The Bahamas.