PLP Leader Philip "Brave" Davis.
AFTER a meeting with Pan American Health Organisation officials yesterday, Progressive Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis accused the Minnis administration of not doing enough to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
He said the government is “disconnected from reality” in its announcements about the restart of the tourism industry, adding that while the United States has already issued COVID-19 related warnings about travel to The Bahamas, PAHO reportedly suggested other nations were considering the same.
“The situation in our country is extremely serious,” Mr Davis noted in a statement last night, after he and his team attended a virtual briefing with a PAHO/World Health Organisation representative in The Bahamas.
“Since last Monday, in just one week, 600 Bahamians have tested positive for COVID-19 and 10 Bahamians have died because of the virus. Our healthcare system is near collapse. The government has not added enough personnel nor expanded our hospital capacity sufficiently. “Our doctors and nurses are exhausted and need reinforcements. More than seven months into this crisis the government has still not set up or enforced protocols to keep non-COVID patients at PMH safe from the virus.”
Mr Davis again faulted the government for “a series of policy errors” when it opened the country’s borders on July 1, saying residents are still paying for these mistakes.
“They did not have enough testing or tracing in place to keep up with new cases and contain the spread of the virus. As a result, a few cases have turned into more than five thousand and growing.
“Our country still does not have enough testing. After all this time, after all these lockdowns, after all the sacrifices made by Bahamians, this government still is not carrying out enough testing to contain COVID. That our positivity rate is over 20 percent is proof. WHO requires a positivity rate under 5 percent to consider the outbreak under control. A high positivity rate is evidence that many cases are being missed. When cases are not identified, the virus spreads.
“The government has failed to hire and train enough contact tracers. Many people who test positive are reporting to me that no one has reached out to them for a list of people they saw in the days when they were most infectious. This is inexcusable.
“In addition, PAHO confirmed that The Bahamas is behind countries like Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados in securing therapeutic medicines for patients with COVID. This is another reason why our country is performing much worse than our peers in the region. Indeed, we continue to rank at the bottom of countries globally when it comes to our country’s response to COVID.
“As we have said repeatedly, our country cannot begin to recover economically until we first contain the virus. The United States has already warned its citizens not to travel to The Bahamas and PAHO indicated other nations were considering similar warnings. The government’s announcements about dates for hotels to re-open and cruise ships to return are disconnected from reality.
“Things could not be more serious. We urge the government to change course.”
The PLP has repeatedly called for expanded, free testing for Bahamians.
Meanwhile on Friday, Public Hospitals Authority officials said that due to the limited number of beds and space and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within Princess Margaret Hospital, areas of PMH have been repurposed to accommodate persons seeking care.
Among the areas included in this exercise is the food court in the Critical Care Block (CCB) which is being used to triage patients seeking emergency care. Patients requiring further intervention are provided assessment in the Emergency Room.
Other areas of the hospital that have been repurposed since the onset of the pandemic in March this year include the old General Practice Clinic, the Legacy Modular Unit, Private Surgical Ward, Maternity Day Unit, Private Medical Ward and Medical/Surgical Ward.