Hon. Philip Brave Davis, Q.C, M.P.
Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador
Leader of The Opposition & Progressive Liberal Party
THE BAHAMAS IS IN CRISIS
600 NEW COVID CASES IN ONE WEEK
GOVERNMENT OFFERS ONLY LOCKDOWNS AND BLAME
Earlier today, my team and I attended a virtual briefing by the PAHO/WHO representative in The Bahamas.
The situation in our country is extremely serious.
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 health care 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.
The government made a series of policy errors when opening our borders on July 1st, and we continue to pay for their mistakes – mistakes they still have not corrected. 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% is proof. WHO requires a positivity rate under 5% 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.
Last week, the PLP’s COVID-19 Task Force recommended steps the governent can and should take immediately to contain the spread of this virus and to bring comfort to those who are on an economic knife-edge. Our advice is derived from international best practices and the latest scientific thinking.
The PLP continues to call for expanded, free testing for Bahamians. Your ability to keep yourself and your family and co-workers safe from the virus should not depend on your income.
The government does not have a plan to contain COVID. They offer lockdowns and blame.
Bahamians are hurting.
Bahamians are getting sick and dying.
We need the government to succeed.
All our lives depend on it.