0

Full Steam Ahead - As Three Million Rapid Tests Secured

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar.

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

TOURISM Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said the country is moving “full steam ahead” with reopening next month.

“We are definitely opening on the 1st of November,” he told The Tribune yesterday.

His comment came as the Ministry of Tourism announced that a public-private partnership with the Living with COVID Coalition, a not-for-profit coalition with the Organisation for Responsible Governance (ORG), has secured up to three million rapid antigen tests that will be provided by Ports International at a low cost per unit.

Studies suggest the tests – which Mr D’Aguilar said cost between $10 to $15 per unit – are accurate when diagnosing symptomatic patients.

The country recorded 707 COVID-19 cases over the past week. During an appearance last week on Guardian Radio’s “The Hitback” with Nahaja Black, infectious disease expert Dr Nikkiah Forbes said the country is nowhere near prepared to welcome guests next week.

Mr D’Aguilar declined to comment on her statement yesterday. The Tribune understands that some health officials have been pushing for a tougher lockdown even as the country prepares to reopen with relaxed rules for guests.

Starting November 1, tourists and returning residents will not be required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival like they are now.

“The new protocols will require visitors, returning citizens and residents to obtain a RT-PCR (swab) test no more than seven days prior to travelling to The Bahamas,” a ministry statement said yesterday. “A rapid antigen test will then be conducted upon arrival and again five days (96 hours) after their arrival. Simplifying the testing, reporting and case management process is a secure, web-based, end-to-end management system that will allow tourism and health authorities to have real-time visitor and resident data and more effectively manage those with positive test results.

“We are proud to partner with the government of The Bahamas on this nationally significant initiative,” said Thomas Bethel, LWCC head of operations. “COVID-19 will be here for a while and we believe that it is our responsibility as Bahamians to work together, act fast, and present a practical and responsible solution that is simple, easy, rapid and connected. Our diverse membership of concerned Bahamians from the private sector, civil society, academia, labour, politics and religious society are all feeling the strain from the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s up to each of us to get tested and follow the health protocols if we want to save our economy.”

Mr Bethel, according to the statement, added that LWCC will be making tests and the management platform available to any lab, doctor’s office, clinic, pharmacy, business, organization or government entity that wishes to join the national platform.

“All those participating have agreed to work at cost or for free,” the statement said.

Comments

TalRussell 1 month ago

The left all by emself'. The comrade prince who was all set as the heir apparent move on up into the office of the prime minister, and now even his Montagu constituents want to fast dispose of em' to the dumpster.
Shakehead once for Yeah next in line after em,' is the most powerful redcoat aka plp, comrade health minister Renward, Twice for Not?, Twice for Not?

0

tribanon 1 month ago

Dr. Duane Sands, Robert Myers and a number of very wealthy Bahamian families are behind the Living with COVID Coalition, a not-for-profit coalition affiliated with the Organisation for Responsible Governance (ORG). D'Aguilar is obviously doing his best to piggy-back on their initiative while trying to distance himself from Minnis as much as politically possible at this time .

It seems the word is out that Minnis has cooked his own goose but good as regards his future in Bahamian politics. The long knives have been unshealthed behind Minnis's back, recognizing he has become more poisonous than kryptonite in Bahamian politics. Even Renward Wells, like D'Aguilar, is now talking with certain political factions opposed to Minnis in an effort to save his political hide.

0

truetruebahamian 1 month ago

Boy - you even more fool than I ever took you for prior to this garbage.

0

bogart 1 month ago

The Bahamas is ranked 182 out of 184 countries in the Covid-19 recovery process. I was out yesterday and saw some 2 dozen plus people on pavements walking close together, in front of stores chatting to others plain without masks, some with masks under chin etc. If conintued devient cannot be controlled by established lawful authorities during regular hours seems not further effective after forced lockdowns. Perhaps many large noticable roadside signs with carefull wording advisory should be erected in dense populated areas with much foot traffic etc. Constituencies offices, bulk of them especially eastern side of island, more than half of dense population should be manufacturing/sewing machine mass producing approved reusable washable masks and FREE given out many mask to households and photocopied pamplets Covid-info etc.

0

Honestman 1 month ago

"Studies suggest the tests – which Mr D’Aguilar said cost between $10 to $15 per unit – are accurate when diagnosing symptomatic patients."

Studies also show that COVID infected persons are most contagious in the days BEFORE symptoms become apparent!!!!

2

rodentos 1 month ago

thats BS. Either you are contagious, so breathing out virus particles - which CAN be detected by a test, OR you are NOT contagious and so this cannot be detected by a test. Think before posting BS

0

TalRussell 1 month ago

What's at stake for the red party and what to expect should Comrade Renward, assume the reigns of the all-powerful office of the prime minister?
Shakehead once for Yeah em's closer to power than any other redcoat wants to imagine, Twice for Not?

0

proudloudandfnm 1 month ago

Ok we have the tests. Now how about contact tracing? Do we have teams set up? And where do we isolate people that test positive if they can't stay at home?

Time for another lockdown then go to test, trace and isolate. Then we should be able to avoid further lockdowns.

Then we can open to tourists, not American tourists of course, those people aint got the sense God gave puppies. Leave them out of the picture until there's a legitimate vaccine available...

0

TalRussell 1 month ago

  • The Christmas Rebellion Coming! - (Not necessarily the supportive views/options of Comrade Tal)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRpMw...">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRpMw...

0

truetruebahamian 1 month ago

Okay - what is the get up and go? Can we Bahamians who have responsibilities in more than one island - e.g. New Providence to Cat Island or Eleuthera or Andros of the Berries be unquarantined to work and travel with minimal discrimination and get back and forth to work? Things fall apart without supervisionn and it costs more than twice as much to pay for errors, deconstruct those errors and rectify them with all taxes accrued for every screw up.Boy we are in a mess!

0

TalRussell 1 month ago

Exactly, exactly, exactly asks what is the right get-up and go, and how and who is to tally as to add up, like keeping the if makin' progress score of the get-up and go?

0

DDK 1 month ago

I don't think government gives two hoots, truetruebahsmian..

0

TalRussell 1 month ago

My comrade DDK, let's us pray for the sake of the entire colony of 1200 islands, cays, and rocks that the 35 House-elected redcoats MPs will indeed be paying close attentions to have no political axe to grind - em just want to save the colony's out islanders from experiencing a cancelled December Christmas. Amen!

0

John 1 month ago

The government is acting in Tourism like they were acting in Freeport , Grand Bahama. Rather than holding the Ports feet to the fire and making them carry out their duties and responsibilities, for which they are collecting hefty taxes, government stepped in and performed those duties at additional expense to the Bahamian people. In the case of tourism, it is stakeholders other than the government that will determine when that sector gets up an running. And whilst the government should prepare and stand ready for such eventuality, any premature moves will result in additional expenses and possibly social and damage to the health of the Bahamian people. Despite the numbers of persons contracting Corona, becoming ill, and the unfortunate number of deaths, the economic fallout form the Covid-29 pandemic will be more devastating and the effects more longer lasting. As the US moved into its winter season, more businesses , like restaurants and bars and retailers will not be able to operate within the safety guidelines set out by the emergency orders. Some will have to close, and unfortunately for many, that closure will be permanent. And as the unemployment numbers climb, the recovery efforts will become less effective and more difficult. And the outcome of the US Presidential Elections will also have a great impact on the recovery of the US economy. Or it’s destruction. Some predict the cruise industry will not gain steam until late 2021, and yes a safe and disease free vacation will be a major draw for those venturing to travel soon. And so the ability for The Bahamas to keep its guests safe and corona free, will be the major selling point, to get the tourists to come and to give other players the confidence to reopen. And even then it will not business as usual. At least for some time.

0

Porcupine 1 month ago

Until the Ministry of Health tells the clinics and the people of the Family Islands who the Covid positive people are, and where they are at, we will not see any improvement. Knowledge is key. The Ministry of Health is part of the problem.

0

lovingbahamas 1 month ago

So, let me get this straight? They just now came up with 3,000,000 tests? Where were these tests when we needed to be saved from Covid. Everyone has been saying for the last 6 months we need more testing. And now, miraculously 3,000,000 “not for profit” tests show up? Are these “not for profit” tests going to be free? A friend was just charged $200 for a test in Freeport. Let’s see- 3,000,000 x $200= 600,000,000. There is a lot of room for some graft in there. Wouldn’t we all like to see a factual cost of what they are going to charge the tourists for the shots AND health insurance? We are 3 days away from opening up-supposedly. And maybe someone could explain the logic of PCR test required before entry but rapid test after entry? Baffling!

0

The_Oracle 1 month ago

The tests were sourced by and provided by a private Bahamas based NGO. Be thankful for them, and thankful the government had the sense to accept the offer and plan.

0

TimesUp 1 month ago

I have heard what they want to do but no substance on how they will do it. My question is what happens to a tourist if they test positive.

Example. A family of 4 on a 5 day vacation perform the required test after 4 days and the mothers test is positive.

Is the whole family quarantined? Or is the mother removed from her family?

Where are they quarantined? In a government facility? Or do the security of Atlantis lock them in their room and post guard in the hallway?

Who pays for their quarantine? The family, the hotel or the government?

What legal consequence's are there for detaining foreign nationals against their will?

0

joeblow 1 month ago

... you ask these questions because you have chosen to do something our government will not, and that is THINK!

0

The_Oracle 1 month ago

The tests cost $15, were probably donated to the government (?), but the government is gonna charge $50, $75 or $55 for them depending if a) short term stay, b) long term stay, c) resident returning? What idiot dreams up this crap? Flat rate it and be done with it!

0

Sign in to comment