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Govt Scraps Covid-19 Antigen Testing For Travelers Upon Arrival

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar.

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar.

By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT

tsmith-cartwright@tribunemedia.net

THE government has scrapped the idea of COVID-19 antigen testing for travelers upon arrival in the country beginning November 1.

Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar made the announcement on Saturday at a Ministry of Tourism press conference conducted via Zoom.

As previously announced, he also said that effective Sunday tourists and returning residents/citizens will no longer need to quarantine or “vacation in place” for 14 days upon arrival into The Bahamas.

“Effective tomorrow, Sunday 1 November, The Bahamas will be removing the mandatory 14-day quarantine as promised,” Mr D’Aguilar said. “Foreign visitors will be welcomed to our country, to stay at our hotels, to go to our beaches, to enjoy some of our world famous excursions and activities and, most importantly, to abide by our health and safety protocols. As such, the emergency orders will be revised to reflect that change.”

The minister said when the country closed its borders earlier this year to protect its citizenry from COVID-19, no one would imagine seven months later the impact of the virus would remain so severe.

All people entering the country will have to present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test no older than five days and have an approved Bahamas health travel visa to enter the country.

For the duration of the visit, those entering the country must complete a daily online health questionnaire for symptom tracking purposes.

Travelers will also have to take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test on day five of the visit (unless departing on day five).

Rules for allowing travelers in the country have shifted continuously throughout the pandemic.

Several weeks ago, Mr D’Aguilar announced that tourists and returning residents would be mandated to take antigen tests upon arrival in the country and then five days later, beginning November 1.

On Saturday, he said the decision to scrap antigen testing on arrival was due to the logistics behind such a roll out, given the number of entry points the country has.

“The use of the rapid antigen tests as an effective screening tool was not supported by the available research,” he also said. “As a result, effective tomorrow, there will be no tests conducted on arrival.

“The test on your fifth day, however, will remain in place.”

Travelers are advised to also always wear a mask and always social distance in public places.

In addition, beginning November 14 all visitors will be required to opt-in to mandatory COVID-19 health insurance when applying for their health travel visa. The insurance will cover travelers for the duration of their stay in The Bahamas.

Children 10 and under as well as pilots and crew of commercial airlines who remain overnight in The Bahamas are exempt from taking the PCR test.

Officials said any visitor who exhibits COVID symptoms at any time during their stay will be required to take a rapid antigen test and receive a negative result before being permitted to continue with their vacation.

If a person tests positive while in the country, they will be required to follow up with a COVID-19 RT-PCR swab test.

“The rapid tests are easy, quick and will yield results in 60 minutes or less with results being provided electronically via SMS text message and email,” officials said in a release.

“Hotel properties will provide relevant information on testing arrangements, while others will facilitate the required rapid test for their guests. All persons on yachts and other pleasure craft will be able to make arrangements for their required rapid tests at the port of entry or via the relevant website. All other visitors, returning residents and citizens will be able to make arrangements for their required rapid tests at the port of entry or via the relevant website.”

Comments

ThisIsOurs 5 months, 2 weeks ago

this doesn't look good. they are between a rock and a hard place. they've just made the decision to let some people for to save the economy. On the oppodite dide you have the argument if you dont save the economy some people will die.

In general their risk management approach is bad. that's why they're constantly announcing conflicting strategies. How confusing must this be for people who have to actusaly plan? They were too excited when the airlines said theyd do the pretesting. Tourism absolved themselves of the risk and did not plan for it. The airlines backed out at the last minute and here we are

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whogothere 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Agreed but at this point we know covid Is Not actually a doomsday disease. Hungers, economic collapse are bigger badder wolfs...government is being practical but optically stupid...

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Chucky 5 months, 2 weeks ago

If this virus and pandemic is so dangerous, why are we doing this?

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rodentos 5 months, 2 weeks ago

it's not. Covid is responsible for less than 1% of global deaths. Moreover:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s4158...">https://www.nature.com/articles/s4158...

there is no more covid19! Now there is Covid D614G! It mutated and is much more contagious now however virtually causes no more any pneumonia, so is also far less deadly. You see that in the numbers e.g. from here

https://www.worldometers.info/coronav...">https://www.worldometers.info/coronav...

lot of cases in EU but virtually nobody dies.

The article says it outperforms the original covid19 by a factor of 10 within 5 days, that means by end of Nov there will be virtually no covid19 left, worldwide!

However, what is completely idiotic is to require a covid19 insurance, knowing that virtually all insurance companies canceled coverage on new policies! This is because WHO declared a pandemic and in such a case the T&C of these insurers usually state that they do not cover it! Fck WHO! I Know because I have friends everywhere and mostly everybody was left with "pants down" by these insurance companies because of that delincuent WHO!

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whogothere 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Exactly also interesting is that COVID has wiped out the flu - that’s right - there has been a 98% reduction in flu positive cases since March according to who s global surveillance. Conspiracy theorist will say they re counting them in covid cases... covid panic junkies will say mask and social distancing. I doubt either true - in every country a crops the world regards of mask mandates lockdowns or not flu cases drop as soon covid hits. Fascinating it’s like they cured the flu with covid (Or swopped it out). Fascinating stuff...

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thps 5 months, 2 weeks ago

"no one would imagine seven months later the impact of the virus would remain so severe."

"said the Minister of Tourism from his home on planet Zen, meanwhile, here on planet Earth"

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ThisIsOurs 5 months, 2 weeks ago

It is a mystery how our leaders are the only people on earth without imagination. How could we possibly have known? We've never done this before you know. if you dont laugh you'll cry...

They should try researching Noah and the flood.... or

from history.com: "The Black Death, which hit Europe in 1347, claimed an astonishing 200 million lives in just four years.

As for how to stop the disease, people still had no scientific understanding of contagion, says Mockaitis, but they knew that it had something to do with proximity. That’s why forward-thinking officials in Venetian-controlled port city of Ragusa decided to keep newly arrived sailors in isolation until they could prove they weren’t sick."

It's clear the key to controlling this virus is the border, whether thats easy or hard. I guess we backward thinking, cuz we telling everybody crossing the border to go bout yuh business, check us 5 days later.

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ISpeakFacts 5 months, 2 weeks ago

USELESS IDIOTS!!!

So why the hell are bahamians still on lockdown??? This is July 1st all over again, there really is no hope or future for this country which has now been turned into a police state ruled by a tyrant dictator!

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rodentos 5 months, 2 weeks ago

just social distancing and wearing mask where necessary would be more than enough! It is dumb to try to eliminate a virus by locking all healthy people up.

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ThisIsOurs 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I wondered if it would be feasible to tell everybody 80lbs over normal weight or over age 75 to stay isolated. It looks like those are the groupings mostly affected. Put that together with testing of everyone else and control at the border... it could work. not saying it would be easy. once the cases are under control the focus shifts to controlling the border.

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whogothere 5 months, 2 weeks ago

If you allergic to shellfish you carry a epi pen and avoid lobster on the menu. Same principle here...if you re at risk take precautions avoid public transport, bars, singalongs and gyms...

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ThisIsOurs 5 months, 2 weeks ago

true! just breathing today has a risk. But if the obese and elderly stay home, they'll be alive, the hospital might not be so congested and could handle other emergencies. that's the danger. the rest of us who get a sniffle can take some vitamin C and such.

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mrsmith 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Um, the obese is 70% + of Bahamians, sooo...

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ThisIsOurs 5 months, 2 weeks ago

oh boy. I forgot dat... well

Eat drink and be merry! Everybody!

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ohdrap4 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Actually, I am surprised to see them admit they do not have the material and other resources to carry out the tests.

Remember when they required people to call for permission to leave home and there was no one to answer the phone?

Remember when there was alphabetical shopping and there was no one to check id?

The so called curbside shopping requires that store clerks place the merchandise in the trunk of tge buyers car. Who is going to do all of that?

These people cannot even record the location of patients for the tests.

Are you going to clear immigration and customs, transmit Covid, then take a test?

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MrsQ 5 months, 2 weeks ago

They aren't even capable of doing contact tracing on the tests that are here. My husband tested positive for COVID three weeks ago. Since then, we have heard from the Ministry of Health exactly one time. (They said they would be contacting him multiple times.) When they called, they didn't even ask him whom he had been in contact with - just whether he had left the island or not. They told him that we should both begin quarantining (note they called about three days after he tested positive.) That was it.

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ohdrap4 5 months, 2 weeks ago

BTW, the ewnews site says people traveling from Abaco to Elbow Cay and Green Turtle Cay have to quarentine upon arrival.

Given many people form these cays must come to Marsh Harbour daily to work, by groceries, visit banks, pharmacies and govt agencies, whoever made up this rule is an absolute idiot .

They better have a big jail in Marsh Harbour.

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DWW 5 months, 2 weeks ago

this epitomizes the level of sheer lack of understanding of the real world living.

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moncurcool 5 months, 2 weeks ago

The sad realty is that the government is in a no win situation. Don't let people in and no jobs. Let them in and you run the risk of people getting sick. The Bahamas doesn't produce anything so what do we expect?

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tribanon 5 months, 2 weeks ago

No, you've got it all wrong once again. The real sad reality is that we, the Bahamian people, are in a no win situation with the very incompetent, arrogant, nasty and vindictive Minnis as PM.

Thanks to Minnis and D'Aguilar, The Bahamas has become the shining example for the rest of the world of what a country should not do in its efforts to combat the health and economic impacts of the deadly Communist China Virus.

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TalRussell 5 months, 2 weeks ago

My Comrades, frim sorts of things what PopoulacesOrdinary at large POAL, are being asked digest, come spewing forth from mouths House-elected, then got handpicked sit around the cabinet table, does sums up soon rungs general election bell that, even if it was just left up the white mens of property allowed be voting, the Redcoats aka UBPs, there still is no certainty that the redcoats would be reelected, which is, in itself, rather embarrassing, if by European chance, was designated by birth, or came by it cause by a sperm mixed chance, as white man's. Shakehead once for Yeah just can't be making stuff like this up, Twice for Not?

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ThisIsOurs 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Translation: from what these guys are asking us to swallow, even if only the white people behind the gate voted there's a slim chance they'll be winning anything. Shake head.

They better make a decision on how to course correct soon because all of these missteps stem from leadership. It's clear nobody wants to speak up so we Popoulaces gets what we get.

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TalRussell 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Thanks, much Comrade ThisIs aka Frankie the PM's, traveling creole Interpreter.

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joeblow 5 months, 2 weeks ago

This is what happens when incompetent people lead. I hope there are adequate supplies of body bags.

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Silk 5 months, 2 weeks ago

No quick antigen test upon arrival at the airport, people pouring in, happy to be in the sun, it ssays above "Covid 19 rapid antigen test on day five, unless departing on day five"...so what then, if they do depart on day five???Who controls those who leave us with this virus to deal with? Let's face it, they have cheated in every country including here: apps don't work, telephone numbers don't match the real ones for police to follow up on the new arrivals, people party, go out, and basically say "screw it all"...well, hope we don't end up paying too high of a price for illogical approach. Countries that have eradicated the virus had amassed millions of dollars in fines...haha, let's see how it happens here

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Silk 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Unbelievable. No antigen test upon arrival, and then those who stay for five days leave without having to be tested because they are out of the country? Happy holidays dear Bahamians, good luck figuring out who infected you. Apps don't work, people cheat in every country and don't self-isolate, they go out and about, they don't care. Countries that have almost eradicated the virus have been strict. They have amassed millions of dollars worth of fines and people have learnt their lessons. Not sure this approach will work here...good luck to us all

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Jetflt 5 months, 2 weeks ago

The government is finally getting smart because they are realizing that the cure is going to be far worse than the disease with all the lockdowns! You better open up or people will die - not from the virus but from the lockdown.

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Silk 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Well done! May negligence prevail and common sense die of Covid

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lovingbahamas 5 months, 2 weeks ago

So, let’s see- you have to check in daily online? What if you don’t have internet? What if you go for your 5 day Covid test to the family island airport and test positive? Do they hold you there until you pay $25,000 for private evac? Do they let you go back to get your stuff? Does the health insurance cover that? I don’t know who in our government dreams up these schemes. Is it any wonder resorts don’t open? Or that tourists don’t come? Or there will be a new set of complicated rules? I’m totally baffled by this hodge podge!

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rodentos 5 months, 2 weeks ago

the point is: NO insurance company covers covid19 on NEW policies right now because WHO declared pandemic.

It is a clown circus

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lobsta 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I am not sure why people think letting in people will make any difference to infection rates in the Bahamas. It's not like the Bahamas is doing better than any other place. Since visitors need to get tested they will be a smaller risk than the average resident.

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ThisIsOurs 5 months, 2 weeks ago

they don't have to be tested on arrival. They take a test before they arrive which will be 5 days or more old by the time they get here. They have to walk through an airport with a million other people, sit on a plane with up to 300 people for at least 30mins. One sick person could infect everybody. Ignoring the risks don't make them go away. They've basically decided to let people die to save the economy. not opening the economy could also kill people. But throwing caution to the wind means even more people will die. on their decision.

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whogothere 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Not true that’s the huge fallacy that started all this panic. Background immunity and population dynamics means that not one person does not infect many people. There are many cases were in a family only one person test positive the others don’t. Making the risk up definitely insure this won t go away meanwhile reality is 60% of population likely some sort cross immunity, of those that get sick 99% will have mild outcomes. Of that 1% that serious outcome most of those will recover. Those that sadly past 94% of those have 2- 3other vserious diseases killing them...

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ThisIsOurs 5 months, 2 weeks ago

risk means it's "possible". It IS possible for one person in the airport to infect everybody. Now is it probable? The probability might be lower doesn't negate possibility.

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happyfly 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Anyone who can't recognize that the virus is already amongst us is in complete denial. We went from two weeks to flatten the curve to destroying our economy with several months of lockdown to forced reopening due to economic desperation. To still be pretending that all of this foolishness is going to change the outcome is completely bananas.

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John 5 months, 2 weeks ago

With the US seeing almost 100,000 new cases daily and recording 1/4 million deaths, there is no safe way to open retail tourism at this time. Suspend the opening for at least four weeks, or at least, until there is a downward spiral in cases in the US and Europe. Bahamians have made a lot of sacrifices to get their corona numbers under control and can’t afford tri have that frittered away with a rush to open the borders. These viruses usually come in three waves. Once a third of the world’s population had been exposed and:or is infected, the virus will disappear. Had the giant pharmaceuticals focused more on finding an effective treatment rather than a vaccine, then they would’ve been more successful and the death rate much less. But the money is in the vaccine and none (( effective above 70%) will be found. Many parts of the US are seeing a positivity rate of over 30% and South Dakota has a positivity rate of 46%.

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ThisIsOurs 5 months, 2 weeks ago

The ONLY way we will get out of this now is if Biden wins and resets the whole thing. The world starts working as one unit along with the scientists to combat the virus. If Trump wins and continues the covid is in your mind spiel, our goose as in tourism is cooked. Our leaders are incapable of planning, this thing requires planning.

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benniesun 5 months, 2 weeks ago

@ThisIsOurs - Not so. All world leaders are puppets controlled by the invisibles. We are spiritual beings living in a realm ruled by chaos, inversion and perversion. We are at the time when an unveiling is promised, so we are being locked down to keep us under control until the evil AI can control us directly through internet interfaces. We are pawns in a greater game.

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ThisIsOurs 5 months, 2 weeks ago

ok, but I'm betting on Biden. If that doesn't work I'm coming with my foil hat to hide in your bunker and wait this out.

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tribanon 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Minnis and D'Aguilar simply no longer care how many Bahamians will lose their lives to the deadly Communist China Virus this coming Winter and flu season as a result of these to very incompetent bozos being in the pockets of the foreign cruise ship companies.

For the past 8 months these two loathsome idiots have made the lives of those of us so far lucky not to have succumbed to a terrorizing death by suffocation, nothing short of a living hell, and for what?!

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SP 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Removing a layer of protection cannot possibly be a good idea! Cases will undoubtably rise and we will be back to locking down with-in 6 weeks.

Just in time to miss the Xmas travel rush. Brilliant!

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MrsQ 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I would say that they'll learn the hard way, but it seems like these people never learn. If they would just wait to get the numbers down before they opened up tourism, it would not only save Bahamians' lives but it would help tourism in the long run. Our tourism industry is not helped by an out of control spread with overwhelmed hospitals and poorly communicated, inconsistent policies as to travel restrictions and which businesses will be open for tourists who come here.

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TalRussell 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Apparently, Dionuso James's owns internal polling has uncovered a contingent Comrade Montagurites that is takin' afoot about streets his constituency canvassing for its renaming back beloved Montagu Constituency.in time for creepin general election's areas constituency association candidate's nomination process. Shakehead once for Yeah hope Sister Loretta is aggressively out searching her constituency office space, Twice for Not?

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rodentos 5 months, 2 weeks ago

you will see

https://www.weforum.org/great-reset">https://www.weforum.org/great-reset

in about 6-12 months they will come up and say there is no other way than to confiscate all money and private possession and "restart" the global financial system and that it's fault of Covid19....

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John 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Donald Trump says he will declare victory even before all the votes are counted. He made a controversy about the mail/in ballot but at the same time encourage d his supporters to use the mail-in ballot or to vote in the early polls. Then to still show up at the polls on Election Day to create long lines and confusion to prevent others from voting. So with 92 million Americans already voted, Trump believes most of them are his supporters and plans to claim victory on November 3 rd.

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John 5 months, 2 weeks ago

The UK had implemented a four week lockdown after other efforts to stem the surge of Corona failed. Florida has put curfews in place and other US states are implementing more restrictive measures in an effort to control the spread of this virus that seems to have become more deadly and more contagious. So why does this country seem to be going in the opposite direction, especially after it is seeing results in stemming the spread of corona?

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John 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Germany’s new partial lockdown wil, besides closing non essential businesses including movies gyms barber shops and beauty salons, prevent hotels from registering any new guests.

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DWW 5 months, 2 weeks ago

the more I hear about the testing and the many many false or strange results the less faith i have in the medical profession. they don't want us to use antigen or antibody testing because they are not reliable but the number of anecdotal false results I am hearing call the PCR testing into question to. if a test is too expensive or too difficult to administer widely it is not a good test period. antigen/antibody tests are better simply because they are quicker and cheaper to give. PCR is not practical and is should not be relied upon for the reasons I have outlined. Give the at risk people 10 N95 (or equivalent) masks and lets all get back to life. If any politician says they did not know it would last this long is either lying or the people giving them advice are clearly clueless. A viral pandemic does not disappear overnight, simply pick up a bloody history book sometime.

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DWW 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Since we are on the topic - let me get this straight please? We are asking tourists to come here for a vacation but they have to be locked up by 8pm and they are not permitted to venture out from Friday 5pm to Monday morning? where do you guys come up with this stuff? If i had a hotel or airline business in this country I would shut it down indefinitely until this mess is straightened out. I am flabbergasted at how little understanding of real life the people making decisions about the lifeblood of this country actually have. Take away half the populations income for 9 months and then stop providing any assistance to feed his family? Minnis and the medical establishment have created the biggest ticking time bomb this country has ever seen and they are completely oblivious to it. well done. hope everyone got a shotgun to protect themselves when it hits the fan.

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Honestman 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Government has clearly decided that The Bahamas is going to have to live with COVID and we are going to have to live with that decision. The one thing that no one is going to accept is hundreds of seriously ill COVID patients being turned away from our hospitals because there are no beds or medical professionals available to treat them. From all accounts we are already approaching this nightmare scenario. Everyone now needs to take personal responsibility for their own health and the health of their family and friends. We are at the start of a long road to freedom and sadly many will not reach the destination.

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