NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The risk of coronavirus disease transmission in the region was raised to “moderate to high”, according to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
CARPHA pointed to increased risk of importation to the region.
There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Caribbean to date.
CARPHA Executive Director Dr Joy St John urged health authorities in member states to “shift their mindset from preparedness to readiness and rapid response”.
As of yesterday, there were nearly 84,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with almost 78,900 on mainland China.
Official reports indicate nearly 2,800 people have died of the virus thus far.
The Bahamas’ response to the rapid global spread of the virus is projected to cost the government in excess of $1 million.
To date, 22 people have been quarantined in The Bahamas.
Six Bahamian residents remain in local quarantine.
Four of those patients were exposed on February 14 while traveling domestically in Canada on an Air Canada flight.
A passenger on that flight tested positively for the COVID-19.
Those paitients have shown no signs of any respiratory disease.
Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip Davis yesterday called on the prime minister to address the public regarding the government’s plan to tackle the spread of the virus.
“While I am sure the country appreciates the written updates from the Ministry of Health, there is an ultimate level of accountability, duty of care and due diligence that Prime Minister Minnis and his government owe the Bahamian people,” Davis said.
“I therefore call on the prime minister to advise the public regarding the steps his government has taken to protect the health and wellness of the Bahamian people should this global public health crisis reach our shores.
“There is absolutely no reason why there has been no proactive advisory, beyond the sharing of quarantine information.
“Moreover, the public deserves a full and frank explanation as to why a cruise ship that was denied docking in Jamaica and Cayman, was allowed to dock at Prince George Wharf.”
Davis further insisted that “the silence of this government on this global health crisis is deafening and it’s lack of leadership striking.”
He cautioned Bahamians to monitors update, and advised then to be transparent about the places they have visited.