PLP releases COVID action plan to implement free mass testing

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Philip Brave Davis today outlined his party’s action plan for containing COVID-19 in The Bahamas, which would strengthen testing, tracing and isolation of cases.

“We cannot continue on this current course,” Davis said, during a press conference at the party’s headquarters.

“The number of new infections keeps growing. We are losing loved ones. Our nurses and doctors and hospital staff are exhausted. And with every lockdown more of our local businesses go under.”

Davis said he is deeply concerned that if the country does not change course, the situation will move from crisis to catastrophe.

He insisted that lockdowns should only be a last resort and a mass testing programme must be implemented.

“We need to make it easier for Bahamians to get tested,” Davis said.

“…And testing should be free to anyone concerned they may have been exposed to the virus.

“Let’s get real: at a time when record numbers of people are struggling to pay their bills, it is immoral and short-sighted to ask them to bear the cost of testing as well…We need free testing, we need to expand testing centres across the country, and we need test results quickly.”

The PLP Leader said there also needs to be an army of contact tracers.

“A lot of Bahamians are out of work, and we have a very big and very urgent job that needs doing,” he said.

“Let’s hire and train more Bahamians to trace contacts and offer their fellow citizens support and information.”

He said the government must also ensure Bahamians are informed through a public education campaign about how to protect themselves during the ongoing pandemic.

“Is what we’re proposing expensive? Yes. But let’s be clear about the cost of not stopping the spread of COVID,” Davis added.

“If we don’t get the virus under control, how many Bahamians who are walking around healthy right now will be gone by the holidays?

“How many families will have an empty chair at their Christmas dinner? How many mothers and fathers and grandparents and friends will we be mourning and missing?

“These really are the stakes. They couldn’t be higher.”

He further urged the government to put aside politics, and take the recommended steps to curb the spread of the virus in the country.

The party’s action plan includes 10 parts, which seeks to address testing, tracing, isolation, treatment, protection of frontline workers, education of the public and ventilation of indoor spaces; and tracking and supporting COVID recoveries.

The plan also outlines initiatives to build trust by expanding the competent authority to include a range of experts, as well as providing economic support for Bahamians.