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Virus: Four Passengers Placed In Quarantine

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.

By EARYEL BOWLEG

ebowleg@tribunemedia.net

FOUR Bahamians are currently in quarantine after travelling on a Canadian flight with a passenger that tested positive for the novel coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19.

The Bahamian residents travelled on a Canadian domestic flight on February 14 and returned to this country on February 21, the Ministry of Health said in a statement yesterday.

“Canadian health officials discovered that a passenger on the said flight tested positive for COVID-19,” the ministry said. 

“The Ministry of Health contacted the Bahamian residents travelling on that flight, evaluated them, and placed them in quarantine out of an abundance of caution. Consequently, there are a total of four persons in quarantine. All patients remain asymptomatic, and show no signs of any respiratory disease.”

The statement stressed that there are no suspected, reported or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Bahamas.

Canadian media reported that the British Columbia (BC) Centre for Disease Control confirmed on Sunday that a woman in her mid-30s onboard an Air Canada flight from Montreal to Vancouver became the province’s sixth presumptive case of COVID-19.

The woman had travelled from Iran where that country’s Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi had announced he  had contracted the virus and the nation has a COVID-19 death count of eight. 

Those who were sitting close to her on the plane and other flight staff have been contacted by public health officials as a precautionary measure.

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said those Bahamians on the Canadian flight have been in quarantine since Monday.

To date, COVID-19 has infected more than 80,000 globally and killed at least 2,700.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it is too early to call the outbreak a pandemic but countries should prepare, which Dr Sands assured The Bahamas is doing. 

“A particular country doesn’t plan for a pandemic,” he said yesterday. “A particular country plans for the possibility of one or more cases of a particular disease in that country. The pandemic speaks to an infection or a disease which spreads around many countries – a new disease. So, yes we have prepared. We have a national plan which has been disseminated …and yes we are making preparations like every other country.”

He later posted to Facebook that the Bahamas has the capacity to test for the virus. 

“The Bahamas National Reference Laboratory, headed by Dr Indira Martin, confirmed the capacity to test for COVID-19 in Nassau as of today (Tuesday),” Dr Sands wrote. “This capacity strengthens our ability to respond to this emerging public threat.”

Meanwhile, an official from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention warned yesterday that health experts are predicting the novel coronavirus will spread in the United States.

“We expect we will see community spread in this country,” said Dr Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Centre for Immunisation and Respiratory Diseases. “It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness.”

A handful of Bahamians were placed in quarantine several weeks ago after travel to China, the epicentre of the outbreak, but were later released after not showing any signs of the deadly virus. 

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 6 months, 4 weeks ago

It's coming and our pandemic preparedness is even worse than our hurricane preparedness. And we all know the U.S. will impose travel restrictions to and from the Bahamas in the event of an uncontrolled wide spread out break in our country. Yep, nothwithstanding the cold, a large ranch style log cabin on hundreds of acres of land in Montana is the safe place to be for the next several months.

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Godson 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Bahamas, please let's organize ourselves and not leave our faith in the hands of this inept and incompetent government.

Family Islanders, please start planting crops just in case there is a need to isolate your jurisdictions and communities for a period of time.

There is a need to be self sufficient with respect to foods when the mail boat is not able to deliver goods.

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K4C 6 months, 4 weeks ago

WOW

You do know the meaning of the word pandemic ?

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TalRussell 6 months, 4 weeks ago

A step right direction by our local health authorities!
Yesterday, Travel Agents were reporting that growing fears around the coronavirus are seeing many their clients cancel their flights to number destinations with some travel agents reporting as high as an 80% cancellation rate to countries with confirmed cases virus - with the number virus affected by country on the rise.

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