By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
THE Consultant Physician Staff Association wants people abroad to be tested before they enter the Bahamas as countries around the globe are experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases as restrictions are relaxed.
Dr Sabriquet Pinder-Butler, CPSA president, said the organisation wants COVID-free islands and do not want the country labelled unsafe for being unable to contain a resurgence of the virus.
“The Consultant Physician Staff Association supports the phased in approach to the tourism reopening of our country related to the COVID-19 pandemic however, there is grave concern regarding phase 2, starting July 1, 2020 as travellers coming to the Bahamas will no longer be required to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test or quarantine,” she wrote in a statement yesterday.
The Minnis administration has not publicly confirmed that a COVID-19 negative test will not be required for entry to the country beginning July 1st, with Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar saying recently that a decision on this has not yet been made. Former Health Minister Dr Duane Sands has also come out against reopening the country to people who don't test negative for the virus.
Dr Pinder-Butler said: “As a world renowned tourist destination, we have visitors from all over the world. The number of cases of COVID-19 differs across the world however, recently there has been a resurgence of cases in Beijing and significant increases of new cases in the United States. The United States has consistently been our largest tourist market hence, we anticipate a potential increase in COVID-19 cases may be inventible as our borders reopen but would wish to mitigate this as much as possible. A surge of cases in the Bahamas can potentially devastate our strained healthcare system and will further add to the economic burden our country faces.”
“The CPSA wishes to recommend continued COVID-19 testing prior to travel to the Bahamas. We further support mandated social distancing, wearing of masks, proper respiratory hygiene and routine hand sanitisation as these combined efforts will assist in minimising the potential cases of coronavirus in country. We also recommend strengthening the capacity for contact tracing and surveillance.”