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'Potential For Further Covid Spread' If Quarantined Vote At The Polls

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Dr Nikkiah Forbes

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE country’s top infectious disease expert has warned that there could be further COVID-19 spread if people in quarantine are allowed to vote at the polls in next week’s general election.

Dr Nikkiah Forbes, director of the National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Diseases Programme at the Ministry of Health, made the comments during a press conference on Friday.

This comes after Health Minister Renward Wells confirmed on Thursday that the government will not prevent people in quarantine from voting.

Asked what this could mean for the country given its current health state, Dr Forbes said: “If that scenario happens with persons in the same space, there will be a potential for COVID transmission so that could be safely done for example if it were online or some other remote forum, but the practised recommendation is that persons who are COVID positive should be in isolation.”

The issue of affording quarantined people the right to vote has been a topic of concern since Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis called an early election last month.

National Security Minister Marvin Dames recently suggested those in isolation will not be allowed to take part in the election.

However, when asked about the government’s position on the matter Thursday, Mr Wells said every voter will be allowed to exercise their right, including those in quarantine.

However, he did not clarify how such people will be able to vote on September 16.

“To prevent folks (from voting), there’s some constitutional issues I believe, legal issues around all of that and at the end of the day, folks are going to find a way to exercise their democratic right,” Mr Wells told reporters at C V Bethel Senior High School where scores of people gathered to cast early votes in the advanced poll.

“The government of The Bahamas and let me say this, in the United States, during the US election, the CDC had put out some guidelines and they said whether you’re COVID positive or whether you’re in quarantine, you can go out to vote in the American elections but the point is that you treat everyone who comes to the poll as if they’re COVID positive, so all Americans were allowed to vote and I think we’re taking that same model but we are putting even more stringent guidelines inside the polls.”

COVID concerns were reignited on Thursday after thousands of voters in New Providence and Grand Bahama gathered at the polls to cast an early vote, with little to no social distancing seen in many instances.

Asked if officials were worried that Thursday’s advanced poll and Election Day will lead to further virus spread, Dr Deshawn Saunders, deputy medical chief of staff at Princess Margaret Hospital, said: “Yes, we do have a concern that what’s happening may be shown ten to fourteen days from what was happening (Thursday) so we do have a very serious concern at this time.”

Comments

mandela 1 month, 1 week ago

Hey Ms, go sit down cause ain't no one listening to you, this is silly season.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 1 week ago

If the display yesterday is par for the course. You won't need quarantined people to spread anything. The asymptomatic people will do the job just fine

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JokeyJack 1 month, 1 week ago

Forbes, if you cared about sick people you would be fighting for their right to receive early treatment medications. Instead you singing same fool song about quarantine.

How's tha5 been working out for ya? Let mw know when you wake up and smell the stupid.

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xtreme2x 1 month ago

She should have been giving some guide lines on how to go about having people vote, who is in quarantine...Instead of the same old.

MY QUESTION: CAN THE INK AND PENCILS SPREAD THE VIRUS?

MY QUESTION: CAN THE INK AND PENCILS SPREAD THE VIRUS?

MY QUESTION: CAN THE INK AND PENCILS SPREAD THE VIRUS?

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tribanon 1 month ago

Forbes much prefers being used as a tool by Minnis in his scaremongering tactics designed to achieve voter suppression. It's painfully obvious that by calling an election in the height of a wave of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the very sinister and evil Minnis is hoping only 'his' vaccinated supporters show up at the polls. There's just no bottom to the depths of Minnis's cruelty to the Bahamian people. If you think he doesn't care about the lives of the elderly and more vulnerable in our society now, just wait and see what he has instore for all of us if he remains in power.

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carltonr61 1 month ago

No Bahamian can vote for this failed FNM leadership that carelessly wants to cost a further hundred lives or low voter turnout out of fear. What a frightened cornered rat.

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licks2 1 month ago

MAYBE I EEN "RIGHT HERE". . .some of yinna talking like only yall on this site. . .but was it not the PLP calling for "ringing the bell"? Now Doc gone and "DO IT" as we Bahamians say. . .now he careless for ringing the bell?

Alla yall all mixed up in yinna heads it seem!! Don't get me wrong. . .I don't think it was a good idea to call the election or "ring dat bell" right-up-in-now! But then again, ringing that bell helps us "GET RID" of some of them "duds" the FNM has as ministers!! Ten more months of some of them "misfits" really een in our best interests for real nah!!

Yinna who around here talking about the rise in covid count, just take yinna behinds and get vaccinated!!

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