Doctors beg govt: Please don’t let untested tourists in
The Consultant Physician Staff Association (CPSA) has raised the alarm over the government’s policy, which will allow tourists who have not been tested for Covid-19 to enter The Bahamas as of July 1.
Senior doctors fear the country could see a surge in Covid-19 cases if visitors aren’t tested before they are allowed to travel here.
As of yesterday, coronavirus cases in the United States were still increasing in 18 states, some of which reported record or near-record highs.
The Gallery has been reliably informed that a number of people from New York, a covid-19 hot spot, have inquired about traveling to The Bahamas once its borders open next month.
Physicians said they are concerned.
“The Consultant Physicians Staff Association (CPSA) supports the phased in approach to the Tourism Reopening of our country related to the Covid-19 global pandemic however, there is grave concern regarding Phase 2, starting July 1, 2020 as travellers coming to the Bahamas will no longer be required to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test or quarantine,” according to a statement by CPSA President Dr. Sabriquet Pinder-Butler.
“As a world renowned tourist destination, we have visitors from all over the world. The number of cases of Covid-19 differs across the world. However, recently there has been a resurgence of cases in Beijing and significant increases of new cases in the United States. The United States has consistently been our largest tourist market. Hence, we anticipate that a potential increase in Covid- 19 cases may be inevitable as our borders reopen but would wish to mitigate this as much as possible,” Pinder-Butler said.
Physicians fear a surge of cases in the Bahamas can potentially devastate our strained healthcare system and will further add to the economic burden that the country faces.
“The CPSA wishes to recommend continued Covid-19 testing prior to travel to the Bahamas. We further support mandated social distancing, wearing of masks, proper respiratory hygiene and routine hand sanitization as these combined efforts will assist in minimizing the potential cases of coronavirus in country,” according to the statement.
“We also recommend strengthening the capacity for contact tracing and surveillance. The Consultant Physicians Staff Association requests open and collaborative dialogues with the Acting Minister of Health, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis and Ministry of Health officials so that we are actively involved in finalizing international travel protocols to strengthen our healthcare response further.”