The government’s initial response to the first case of Covid-19 was a curfew between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. This response was deemed appropriate by the opposition, medical professionals and even citizens. As cases of Covid-19 gradually rose and spread to different islands, the government’s response was to impose a 24-hour lockdown to prevent even more community spreading.
These measures seem to be good. However, as a concerned Bahamian, I believe the government is not managing this crisis proactively as they should. Lockdowns and curfews are not how The Bahamas is going to win the war against this deadly virus. I implore the government to explore how countries like South Korea have contained the coronavirus.
South Korea attributed its success to wide-spread testing coupled with complete transparency with the general public. With a population of over 50 million people, South Korea obtained over 10,300 cases. Out of those 10,300 cases, 6,700 recovered with only 200 deaths. South Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kang Kyung-wha, stated, “Testing is critical with a fast travelling virus like this.” Kang also went on to confirm that South Korea tested 350,000 cases and patients are tested numerous times before they are released. What is also important to note is that South Korea never underwent any lockdowns.
It’s remarkable to see how different countries react differently to the same problem. Mandatory lockdowns may be effective, to an extent, to prevent community-wide spreading or a case of a “super-spreader.” However, I believe it’s incumbent upon the Prime Minister and his administration to take a page out of the books of countries who have been through pandemics and know what to do, and from countries who have contained and suffocated the spread of the coronavirus.