PLP leader Philip “Brave” Davis.
By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Progressive Liberal Party wants the government to adopt new COVID-19 prevention measures that allows for more virus testing and isolation to help prevent a third wave in the country.
In a statement released yesterday, PLP leader Phillip “Brave” Davis urged the Minnis administration to learn from its past “mistakes” and act now before it is too late to safeguard the country against the new, more contagious COVID-19 strains spreading worldwide.
He also said the country could not afford to return to lockdowns, which will only further damage the nation’s economy.
“The government has mismanaged the crisis and the economy is in worse shape as a result,” the opposition leader said yesterday.
“Everyone has pandemic fatigue, but the battle with COVID-19 is unfortunately not over. New, more transmissible strains of COVID are now circulating. Florida is leading the United States with the largest number of identified cases of the UK variant. We urge the government to learn from earlier mistakes and move from a reactive to a proactive stance.”
To better protect the country against the new threats Mr Davis pointed to several recommendations made by the PLP as strategies the government could implement. These include free COVID-19 testing, making medical-grade masks available to all uniformed and essential workers and the launch of a public educational campaign on the benefits of wearing two masks.
Former Health Minister Dr Duane Sands has previously suggested that the Minnis administration should remove the barrier on surgical mask imports for the public and said there should be a government mandate requiring two-layer cloth masks to be worn to reduce spread of the coronavirus.
Yesterday, Mr Davis echoed similar sentiments, saying “medical-grade masks should be made available to all workers who interact with large numbers of people.”
He also said: “Strengthen isolation protocols in clinics and hospitals. It’s crucial that COVID-positive cases are isolated from other patients and that Bahamians feel they can trust these protocols so that they don’t avoid necessary medical treatment.”
The PLP leader also wants answers on data behind the decisions especially as it relates to curfew hours in New Providence.
He said the current testing requirement for inter-island travel is “ keeping families apart.”
He noted: “To earn public cooperation for necessary public health measures at a time of widespread pandemic fatigue, all restrictions must reflect actual science. The competent authority should bring forward what he believes is the scientific justification for the ongoing curfew in New Providence, and if he cannot, he should end it. Perhaps there is no health-related justification – after all, did he not recently brag about being out and about at 4.30am?”
With COVID-19 vaccines set to arrive in the country soon, Mr Davis also advised the government not to rely on vaccinations to flatten the pandemic curve and to prevent the country from experiencing a third wave.
This focus, he added, should instead be redirected to implementing more comprehensive strategies to better protect the country in this current COVID-19 climate.
“The government is making a mistake by relying so heavily on vaccines and lockdowns,” Mr Davis said. “We urge them to use a broader set of tools. We have seen and felt the costs of their previous failures to plan ahead. We should take action now to avoid a third wave and more restrictions and lockdowns.”