Shadow Minister of Health Dr. Michael Darville
The following statement by Dr. Michael Darville, Shadow Minister of Health, warns the Government in the face of 200 odd new cases of Covid on Friday 6 August 2021, the largest ever single day, that time is running out and the government must change strategy:
7 August 2021
The recent escalation in the number of persons testing positive for COVID is a
significant cause for concern and highlights the need for a more strategic approach
by the government in bringing about a reduction in the rate of community spread.
The COVID update from the Ministry of Health for 5 August, 2021 shows that one
out of every three persons tested were positive for COVID. In light of these facts,
time is of the essence and critical policy changes must be implemented now if we
are to reduce this rate of community spread.
The government’s current and former Minister of Health appear to be at odds
concerning the FNM policies and approach in handling the COVID 19 pandemic
which is sending mixed messages to the public and may be fuelling an erosion
of public trust and confidence in the government’s management of the pandemic.
The truth of the matter is, our major health facilities are overwhelmed and the
government over the past year and a half has failed to adequately prepare and
expand these facilities to respond to subsequent waves of COVID which they were
warned would occur.
There is a shortage of beds, equipment, and health professionals. People are dying
and the government has yet to provide confirmation as to whether the highly
contagious and more virulent Delta Variant is present in The Bahamas.
Also the government has failed to inform the public regarding clusters of infections
which is important to activate a more aggressive policy response to prevent further
In the Prime Minister’s last communication he advised that the government has
brought on an additional epidemiologist to assist the Ministry of Health’s COVID 19
Task Force and added additional contact tracing personnel which is a step in the right
direction but more critical manpower resources are needed throughout our archipelago
to win the fight against this invisible enemy.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the PLP has been advocating for free COVID
testing, a more aggressive contact tracing regime, isolation and quarantining proportionate
with the fluctuation in the number of diagnosed positive cases. We also fully support a
well structured vaccination program.
The increase in the number of unemployed persons over the past 18 months has placed
COVID testing out of the reach of far too many Bahamians and residents.
Our people are struggling to pay bills and are being forced to make a choice
between testing and groceries. Without testing many infected persons are
unknowingly spreading the deadly virus and many delay in seeking medical help
unless they become seriously ill.
Given our very high rate of infection and the low percentage of vaccinated persons
in the country, it is crucial that the government reconsider its stance on free COVID
testing for residents throughout The Bahamas and ramp up the sourcing of vaccines
by partnering with the local drug companies.
There must also be a heightened level of public education regarding the serious effects
of the virus to assist in reducing the instances of vaccination hesitancy.
The PLP has widely communicated our strategic 10 point plan to combat COVID 19
throughout our country and stands ready to assist the government in the fight against