PLP leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis slammed the Minnis administration’s COVID-19 plans yesterday, saying the government is not doing enough to protect residents as the borders reopen.
He spoke during a PLP press conference the day the country resumed international flights.
He said: “International visitors return via air to The Bahamas today, for the first time in months, even as the United States just yesterday set a new daily record, with 47,000 new COVID-19 cases announced. The Americans’ top infectious disease expert has said that the rate of new infections could soon double to 100,000 a day. Cases in the US have surged by more than 80 percent in the last two weeks.
“Bahamians have - at truly great cost to themselves - done their part to contain the virus in our own country. What they are owed by this government now is a plan to make sure all that has been gained will not be lost.
The experts on the PLP task force have said from the start that testing has to be at the centre of any plan to keep Bahamians safe. That is especially true as we move to this more dangerous phase of the pandemic and the country reopens. Imagine a traveller is getting ready to come here. Let’s say he gets tested on a Tuesday, gets his negative result on Friday, goes to a crowded party on Saturday night, and flies to The Bahamas on Sunday. Most visitors won’t behave this way. But we have to be prepared that some may.”
“We must be clear about the risks we’re facing,” Mr Davis added. “One Bahamian hotel employee can be infected by one visitor, and days before either experiences symptoms, the virus can begin to spread silently through our communities. Where is the plan to reduce the danger of this happening? We need to conduct regular and extensive testing of Bahamians who work with or near visitors. Testing is the best tool we have to detect a virus that spreads invisibly. There is no replacement for testing when people can transmit the virus before they experience any symptoms. European countries are opening their borders to international travellers today, too; I note that travellers from the United States are banned, however. Even some states within the US are requiring fellow citizens traveling from hotspots to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. And yet our government has hardly changed its plans since cases in the United States began surging.”
Mr Davis also knocked the government for letting some interns go at the completion of their medical internship, saying doing so during a pandemic is “stupid and immoral”.
He said: “The prime minister gave one of his national addresses on Sunday. He has stopped doing press conferences because he isn’t willing to answer your questions, questions like: how could you fire doctors during a health emergency, when you should be reinforcing our frontlines instead?
“What is our country’s capacity to test and therefore discover new cases in our communities? What steps has the government taken to expand our ability to conduct on-the-ground contact tracing? How many people have been trained? What is our ability to isolate positive cases, for visitors and Bahamians? Where are the individualised plans for each of our Family Islands? These questions are literally a matter of life and death, and yet we have a prime minister who will not answer them. The greater the crisis, the more essential it is to have a leader who can face the people. Here we are, on our ninth set of emergency measures, with a prime minister who wants ever greater authority with ever less accountability.”