On Government’s decision to expand COVID-19 testing

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Senator Dr. Michael Darville
Dr. Melissa Evans
Co-chairs of the PLP’s COVID-19 Task Force

For Immediate Release
16 April 2020

The statistical data presented today in the press conference of the Ministry of Health reflect the positive effects of social distancing through enforcing curfews and intermittent nationwide lockdowns. We recognise the importance of these lockdowns and curfews in the initial stage of our fight against COVID-19 but note that this is not a realistic long term strategy.

We have argued for months for more testing. It is a relief that the Ministry finally sees the light. More testing will provide health experts with the requisite empirical evidence and scientific data to properly inform public policy. It will also provide important insights that will inform our decisions regarding the eventual opening up of our economy.

In that regard, we impress upon the government and the Ministry of Health the need to move swiftly to expand testing capabilities not only in New Providence but also in Grand Bahama, Bimini and the other family islands.

We also highlight the need to target the elderly and persons with co-morbidities in the first line of testing since we believe this will enable us to take swift action to save lives in these more vulnerable groups.

Finally, we note that there has been a sharp increase in the number of persons in quarantine. It is our view that given the size of this group, the government should move to deploy digital platforms in order to monitor such a large group. These platforms provide a more cost effective and efficient method of tracking the transmission and aid in limiting the further spread of infection.

The PLP remains committed to working with all people of goodwill and conscience for the best outcome during this very difficult time.