NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis last night questioned the government’s action plan in the event a potential new strain of COVID-19 should enter the country.

In a statement, he urged the government to plan ahead to prevent having to implement “devastating” lockdowns and curfews.

Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip Brave Davis.

“The government has said that they now know the ‘formula’ to beat COVID; but their ‘formula’ of lockdowns and curfews resulted in devastating, knockout blows to many businesses,” Davis said.

“Lockdowns are not a plan. I’m confident that Bahamians are united in wanting the government to move proactively and to produce a plan in which lockdowns are the last resort, not the first step.”

He added: “Bahamians have worked hard to follow COVID regulations and keep their families and communities safe. With each day bringing additional reports of new, more transmissible strains of COVID circulating around the world, the government should not repeat its pattern of waiting for a crisis to take hold before reacting.”

While health officials have indicated there is no way of knowing whether the new strain is in country, Attorney General Carl Bethel told Eyewitness News earlier this month that he had not received instructions to formulate a policy relating to the matter.

The opposition leader last night reiterated his calls for COVID testing to be made “accessible and free” for Bahamians, arguing that doing so “would make our country better prepared if one of the more transmissible strains of COVID comes to our shores”.

“The government should also prepare now, to isolate any new cases so that Bahamians can be treated in our clinics and hospitals without concerns about becoming infected there,” Davis said.

“We repeat what we have said throughout — free testing is the smart thing to do and the right thing to do. No Bahamian should have to choose between food for their family or a test to know their COVID status.”

He added: “We are all impatient to put COVID behind us. But we can’t afford to ignore the dangers represented by the multiple new strains.

“If just a handful of people come into our country with the more transmissible strain, a few cases could quickly turn into many thousands.

“Let’s prepare now to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

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