Davis warns Covid-19 “will return with visitors”
As The Bahamas prepares to open its borders to untested tourists amid a spike in coronavirus cases in several U. S. cities, Opposition leader Philip Davis said the country faces the probability that the virus will return with visitors but the government is not prepared to protect the Bahamian people.
“The people of The Bahamas paid a very steep price in order to give the government the gift of time. Yet the government has not prepared to re-open safely,” Davis said during his contribution to the budget debate in the House of Assembly last night.
As of Saturday, some states in the US had reported record or near-record highs of Covid-19 cases.
Davis asked what will happen if visitors bring the virus inside the country.
“It is easy to imagine how a visitor with the virus could transmit it to a hotel employee, who could then bring it home to their family. It could spread undetected in our communities for days before the first warning signs appear. What happens then?” he asked.
“How many Bahamians would become sick? How many first responders put at risk? What would be the human toll?
And what would that scenario mean for our reputation and economy?”
Davis said he has been in favor of reopening but it must be done right.
“I want to know, in particular, what is this government planning to do in the next two weeks, ahead of July 1st, to increase our ability to test for the virus? The clock is ticking,” he said.
”We may only receive a small number of visitors, so we may only benefit from only a small positive impact on our economy.
This small benefit could then translate into a potentially large increase in risk and exposure to the virus.”
The Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP renewed his call for the government to conduct widespread testing.
As of Tuesday, 2,299 tests had been completed.
“If there is a surge of positive test results, we still don’t have the ability to isolate everyone who tests positive,” according to Davis.
“We don’t just have a Dorian crisis, and a COVID-19 crisis, and an economic crisis. We have a governing crisis too,” he said.