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'We Won't Take Risks With Virus'

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and Heath Minister Dr Duane Sands (left).

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and Heath Minister Dr Duane Sands (left).

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said the government will not “take any chances” with the deadly coronavirus and will use all the resources needed to protect residents from the disease.

“Public health is an absolute priority,” he said at a press conference yesterday following meetings with local and regional officials. “We take this outbreak very seriously.”

He spoke on a day the Caribbean recorded its first case of the COVID-19: a 62-year-old Italian man who arrived in the Dominican Republic on February 22 without showing symptoms.

For now, the Bahamian government is not restricting travel from Italy but is warning residents against non-essential travel to that country, Iran and South Korea — all countries experiencing outbreaks of the disease. Travel restrictions related to China have been in effect since January 30.

“As a husband, father and grandfather, the outbreak of COVID-19 is a matter of grave concern,” Dr Minnis said. “As a doctor it is equally concerning. I have instructed this government and its health officials in particular to do everything in our power to combat, communicate and if needed contain this health risk.”

Dr Minnis said CARICOM leaders discussed management of the virus via video conferencing yesterday, “including strengthening existing protocols for seaports, and aligning best practices in the region.”

“Leaders also considered whether a regional rapid response team should be reestablished to provide assistance across the region to countries that are in need,” he said.

Dr Pearl McMillan, chief medical officer at the Ministry of Health, said because the virus has spread to more than 50 countries, “there is heightened awareness that the possibility of the introduction of COVID-19 into the Bahamas can become a reality.”

She said as of last week an in-country laboratory capable of testing for the virus has been established.

The country has about 50 diagnostic testing kits, she said, with more on order.

“We have enough in country to do the required testing to determine whether someone who presents with the symptoms, some respiratory symptoms and the necessary epidemiological link (and) the history of travel, we can test,” she added.

According to Dr McMillan, officials are finalising a plan for managing people who need hospital care and will designate community clinics for evaluating people who do not require hospital care.

She said the Ministry of Health has ample supplies of personal protective equipment for frontline staff.

Asked about the sufficiency of hospital beds, ventilators and isolation spaces to deal with an outbreak of the virus, she said officials have begun bringing hospital preparedness up to the required level.

“What we know is that in most cases thus far from the China experience, about 80 percent will not require hospital care,” she said. “For the 20 percent we are putting in place facilities for isolation. We would’ve actually identified on the hospital compound a modular facility that we can use to ensure we can isolate should we need to and provide the necessary level of care.”

Dr Minnis said Cabinet ministers who were scheduled to travel to areas experiencing outbreaks have had their travel plans cancelled.

Up to press time last night, there were 88,590 reported cases of the coronavirus and 3,050 deaths. More than 45,000 people have recovered from the disease, which has a mortality rate of about two percent, according to reports.

Last night, the Ministry of Health said the number of people in local quarantine had dropped to two.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 7 months ago

“Public health is an absolute priority,” Minnis said.

Just who does this joker think he's kidding?

“As a husband, father and grandfather, the outbreak of COVID-19 is a matter of grave concern,” Minnis said.

But he knows the vast majority of Bahamians do not enjoy the very privileged and comprehensive type of heath insurance coverage he and his family have at the taxpayers' expense, and which would allow him and his family members to hop on a private aircraft to another country to receive the best possible healthcare treatment. Same applies for Sands. Meanwhile most Bahamians in a wide spread outbreak of COVID-19 will be left to contend with our country's dysfunctional and inadequately resourced public healthcare system that many now believe is a place you go to die rather than be healed.

Asked about the sufficiency of hospital beds, ventilators and isolation spaces to deal with an outbreak of the virus, she {Dr. McMillan} said officials have begun bringing hospital preparedness up to the required level.

"...have begun..." Simply unbelievable! It's now too late.

Minnis is a corrupt monster of uncaring proportions, the likes of which we have never seen before in any of our previous PMs. His outright arrogance, nastiness and incompetence shut him out to basic common decency in even our most trying of times. Now Bahamians can only pray, and if he could tax them for doing that, you can be rest assured he would surely do so!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 7 months ago

Killarney voters must do the right thing this next general election and support anyone but Minnis who has proven himself to be the most corrupt, arrogant, nasty and incompetent PM our country has ever had or could ever have in the future, save for possibly Alfred Sears or his business partner Sebas Bastian. Who would have thought Minnis could even make a low-life scum bag like Davis look good?!!

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bogart 7 months ago

Govts are expected to say these things. .........Like comfort the citizens with their best skills, experience salaries knowledge... that citizens will be best protected.....like no more BEC electrical shortfalls,....like Haitians are not here to stay, they are going to Florida,.....like if in power they will reverse the clauses agreements then govt in power gives or sell the hotel, ..like they will arrest the persons harbouring illegals,....like they will arrest illegal employers,....like its the peoples time....like majority citizens voting NO TO ILLEGAL GAMBLING,...like there is transparency in transactions with people taxpayers money an people dont even know now how much the hotel worth in the first place muchless how much hothel worth that Agreement for Sale selling it,..like Fox Hill conditions inhuman people like sardines using slop bucket,.......like Bahamas jets flying for ten years knowing safety devices needed until FAA steps in,.....like FOIA,,.....,like just add on an on.......

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TalRussell 6 months, 4 weeks ago

I say this with no political malice, nor ill will against another son we soil - but neither said with an apology!
When case being much too full of self baloney does hits we comrade chief executive - it appears as if to leaps at him with the vengeance of a virus god intent on striking one we own down for trespasses committed against a Colony of Out Islanders. God save we beloved Queen! Can't be writing this stuff. Just, can't.

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birdiestrachan 6 months, 4 weeks ago

I doubt any one believes anything that comes out of roc wit doc's mouth.

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John 6 months, 4 weeks ago

With about 130,000 visitors coming to the country (7 million a year) the virus will definitely make its way here. Hopefully the warmer weather will cause it not to spread so rapidly and the mortality rate will be low.

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joeblow 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Many seem to forget that as a former Mister of Health, Minnis bungled a viral outbreak that resulted in many Bahamian deaths. Some from dengue and others from a cause yet undetermined. He has yet to prove his competence in anything other that gynecology, so I have no confidence in anything he has to say!

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TalRussell 6 months, 4 weeks ago

When it comes whether government will not “take any chances” with anything deadly heading the way of colony's out islands - don't you think that's a deadly enough a question of, how well colony's governing red party is equipped, and prepared, use all the resources needed to protect residents - 154 days other side Hurricane Dorian of which must best be left to be answered, directly by our still suffering comrade Abacoians, Grand Bahamalanders, and even longer suffering Ragged islanders? No one is making this stuff up. Unfortunately, it's so damn factual, down to a sinful fault! Yet, Brave and company - remain asleep over at alternative government's wheel's headquarters.

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John 6 months, 4 weeks ago

The economic fallout and damage from Corona virus will have more impact in The Bahamas than the sickness/death toll, especially in the Family Islands where the population is sparse. Thus far the mortality rate of Corona is 2?percent compared to 6 percent for the flu. And if scientists are correct that the virus will slow or die off with the cold and flu season, The Bahamas may by spared experiencing the virus at its peak, but the effects on travel and tourism can be felt all the way to next winter. And, according to experts in Washington and other areas, the virus may be present in a community weeks before it is detected so not only will it have spread by persons unknowingly exposing others to it, but persons who have been exposed and not treated can become critically ill and may succumb to the disease.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 6 months, 4 weeks ago

You've either been smoking too much potent weed or deliberately attempting to spread misinformation and confusion. Death rate from flu is 0.1% compared nearly 4% for COVID-19 virus, i.e. nearly 40 times higher! And if you're unlucky to be over age 60 and already not in good health, the death toll from COVID-19 is even higher, perhaps as much as 15 to 20% for that group. Don't take my word for it - there are plently of reputable web sites out there with all of the known info to date posted about COVID-19.

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John 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Maybe your bra is too tight and you need to breathe deeply. Whilst the mortality rate from the virus maybe 20% for the over 60 age group, the death rate for persons under 15 is close to zero. ANd the greatest amount of infections occurs in the 20-40 age group. Also, the C-19 virus may be underreported because it is confirmed that many people who get milder versions of it recover on their own, without being treated or reported. And the virus actts differently amongst different populations. The number of cases in Italy doubled overnight while the number of cases in Florida remained at two and thenumber of cases in Washington increased.

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TalRussell 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Where is the evidence when returning passengers are saying that there doesn’t appear to be any enhanced screening procedures in place at the neither the colony's international airport - nor with disembarking cruise passengers and cruise ship crew members?

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