PLP Leader Philip "Brave" Davis.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Leader Philip "Brave" Davis believes the government has not been sufficiently proactive in handling the country's COVID-19 preparedness.
According to Mr Davis, the government has been "too general and too generic" with its strategy.
He said by now, officials should have already formed a task force with protocols in place to prevent the new coronavirus' entry and spread in The Bahamas.
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillan said in a statement yesterday that a laboratory with capacity to test for the virus was established last week at the National Reference Laboratory in New Providence.
During a press conference on Sunday, Dr McMillan revealed that plans were put in place to establish a task force made up of key personnel from various government agencies, including the Departments of Customs and Immigration, the Port Department, the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the police and defence forces. However, no date was given as to when this task force would be active.
At the time, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis also declared his administration would take no chances and spare no resources with this situation.
To date there are no reported, suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas. However, there remain two people in quarantine.
"The prime minister was too general and generic in his official response to the looming health crisis," Mr Davis said during the PLP's monthly omnibus press conference yesterday.
"The prime minister did not reveal the level of resource allocation and how it will be spent and allocated. We are concerned that at this late stage he has only indicated the intention of the government to set up a national coordinating committee to focus on the issue. There are inadequate or non-existent safety and health protocols for international flights."
Up to press time, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide stood at 92,303 with more than 80,000 of these in mainland China.
While there have been 48,189 recovered cases worldwide, there have been 3,132 deaths.
Asked what he thought the Minnis administration should be doing given the global picture, Mr Davis said he believed there needed to be some immediate steps taken.
"I think anyone who is coming in from an international flight, their travel itinerary should be inquired into," Mr Davis said. "For example if I come from Miami, that doesn't necessarily mean that's where my trip originated. My trip may have originated from Washington State in the United States where you know they (have a number of) deaths. So if I know you come from Washington State then perhaps you ought to be tested or quarantined.
"Those protocols have to be put in place at the airport right now if they are not in place."
Health Minister Dr Duane Sands told The Tribune yesterday all visitors are currently having their itineraries scrutinised.
Mr Davis added his party stood ready to offer assistance in any way to strengthen the country's readiness for potential cases.