By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
AS coronavirus cases skyrocket in the United States, a top local infectious disease expert says The Bahamas can still manage reopening the country without an explosion of COVID-19 cases if protocols are executed properly.
The increase of COVID-19 cases in the US has been worrying enough that some states are now restricting incoming travel from other states.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that anyone coming to New York from a hard-hit state would have to quarantine for two weeks. New Jersey and Connecticut have implemented a similar policy. The policy applies to people coming from Florida, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.
Meanwhile, guests from around the world will be allowed into The Bahamas starting on July 1, though they will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test taken within ten days of their trip. Some are now questioning whether the government should reverse its decision to reopen the country’s borders.
Dr Nikkiah Forbes, the government’s infectious disease expert, said yesterday: “When borders are opening and you’re allowing travel during an epidemic, there will be risk of persons travelling with COVID-19. There is no 100 percent way to eliminate risk completely so there has to be steps, including screening, testing, and quarantine if persons are not able to be tested.
“In allowing travellers to come, there will be some degree of risk associated and all you can do is minimise the risk. To be fair, I think these steps by (the Ministry of) Tourism and Aviation in conjunction with (Ministry of) Health, I think these safety measures will considerably reduce the risk.
“Some countries are requiring that people get tested when they arrive in the country. That is not 100 percent of a guarantee either. The PCR test is not 100 percent accurate. Some (countries) are doing no testing and quarantine, some are asking for tests a few days in advance, it’s all rather imperfect.”