NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Consultant Physician Staff Association (CPSA) President Sabriquet Pinder-Butler said yesterday that while the association would consider RT-PCR COVID-19 testing at the borders an “ideal” solution amid another wave of infections, there is no simple fix at this stage with the public wanting additional freedoms, and the need to balance health and the economy.
“When the horse is already out the gate and many gates are open, and horses are running in both directions, it’s no longer a simple fix,” Pinder-Butler said.
“A PCR test would be ideal, but of course there are limitations. The repeat test was a good measure also.
“Balancing health and economy is very difficult as we all would agree especially when most appear to also want freedom.
“I would say that the discussions perhaps should be had now or maybe a few weeks ago because the writing was on the wall. Our best prayer is that most of these cases are mild as what we are seeing now, and that there are not too many deaths/severe disease.”
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper said while The Bahamas’ CDC travel rating due to the increasing number of coronavirus cases is concerning, the majority of islands remain COVID free and the destination remains a “relatively safe place to travel”.
There were 155 cases over the weekend, and another 88 last Thursday.
The vast majority of these infections were recorded on New Providence.
In the last week, there have been 346 infections, compared to the 209 cases the week before.
This represents a 65 percent increase in cases week-over-week.
The Bahamas recorded 721 cases between May 1-23, nearly triple the cases recorded during the same period last month.
There were 188 cases between April 1-23.
Yesterday, the CDC updated its travel rating for The Bahamas to a ‘Level 3: COVID-19 High’, warning that unvaccinated travelers should avoid travel to the country.
“This, of course, is of some concern as this is watched, particularly by groups and event planners and corporates in the US,” Cooper said.
“It should have a modest impact if it gets to level four.
“It will have some impact on our overall arrival numbers.
“Right now, we are simply seeing what the rest of the world is seeing.
“There’s a bit of a surge in COVID. People are absolutely fatigued by it.
“People are getting vaccinated and boosted and they are traveling nonetheless because at this stage in the game, people are really ready to move on.
“And we’re seeing this materialized in our overall numbers.”
Baha Mar President Graeme Davis recently recommended the government remove the testing requirement to enter the country.
In response, the deputy prime minister said while the government listens to its stakeholders the government must make decisions in the best interest of the Bahamian people, decisions and “balance what’s good for tourism and the economy”.