PLP Leader Philip "Brave" Davis.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Leader Philip “Brave” Davis said yesterday the government’s planned holiday and weekend lockdown is not the answer to the country’s COVID-19 crisis.
The move, he said, is only pressing pause on the surmounting issues the nation faces due to the virus.
On Tuesday, Mr Davis called for a comprehensive plan to fight COVID-19 and its affects on the country.
He reiterated those remarks yesterday.
“I am troubled because our healthcare system is near collapse. It is near collapse because we still don’t have enough testing. We still don’t have enough tracing,” Mr Davis said on the Senate steps following the House of Assembly meeting where moments before Prime Minister Dr Minnis had announced new restrictions for New Providence and Abaco.
“We did not use the more than six months since this pandemic began to add hospital and clinic capacity,” Mr Davis said.
“All a lockdown does is press pause. On Tuesday morning we are back where we have started.
“Instead we need a plan to stop the spread of COVID, not a lockdown, but a plan and if the plan includes a lockdown the other aspects of the plan have to be made known.
“We need widespread testing and it needs to be free. We need results returned quickly after testing so people know if they have to be isolated.
“We need a government that understands that this is an airborne virus and that outdoors is safer than indoors. We need to make workplaces safer and we need to support people instead of punishing them.
“This is no time to, as it were, for petty political games and rhetoric, but rather a time to understand and plan for what we have to do. It’s only through testing will we make the invisible virus visible and that has not been happening enough.”
In a statement released after his press conference, Mr Davis faulted the Minnis administration for opening the country’s borders on July 1 “without enough testing and tracing capacity in place” and no requirement for Bahamians returning from virus hotspots after less than 72 hours to be tested.
“As a result of these policy failures, thousands of Bahamians have contracted COVID, visitors are being warned to stay away and our healthcare system and economy are in collapse. The prime minister’s response to this crisis is yet another lockdown. A lockdown is not a plan,” Mr Davis said.
On Tuesday, Mr Davis said lockdowns have been a “useless tool” in the hands of the Minnis administration, as he urged officials to allow free COVID-19 testing for all Bahamians.
While he said the government needed a feasible action plan that includes free testing for every Bahamian, he said the party would not stand behind another complete lockdown of New Providence in the absence of complete data to support why the move is being considered.
PLP Deputy Leader Chester Cooper has also said that local businesses could not afford another lockdown.