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Davis calls for national testing strategy as visitors return

Three days before The Bahamas opens its borders to visitors, Opposition leader Philip Brave Davis is urging the Minnis Administration to implement a national testing strategy.

The government recently announced that visitors, like returning residents, will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the country. However, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar was unable to articulate a detailed plan ahead of the country’s reopening when pressed for specifics last week.

However, Davis pointed out that due to the lag time between taking the COVID-19 test, receiving the results, and the day of travel, a negative result is not a guarantee that a visitor is not carrying the coronavirus.

“The requirement for a negative test result reduces but does not eliminate the risk that a visitor is infected,” Davis said in a statement today.

“As the case numbers in the United States continue to rise at an alarming rate, I urge the government to announce a serious and comprehensive testing strategy in The Bahamas that begins as tourists return,” he added.

The PLP leader suggested that the government conduct regular and extensive testing for Bahamians who work with or near visitors and added the virus can be spread by people before they feel sick or develop symptoms.

“We know the virus can be spread by infected individuals who never experience symptoms. Because the virus can spread silently and quickly throughout our communities, we cannot wait until Bahamians develop symptoms to implement testing. We need new testing protocols and in addition, every Bahamian who wants a test should be able to receive one,” he said.

“Testing will allow us to make visible a virus that spreads invisibly.”

“Along with a serious plan for testing, the government must provide transparency about our capacity to conduct contact tracing and isolation of any positive cases, including plans for each of our Family Islands,” Davis added.

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