Duane Sands Sets Record Straight on Americans With Residency Allowed Through the Border
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Minister says couple brought in over 2000 much needed COVID-19 test kits
Minister of Health Duane Sands cleared the air on allowing two Americans with Bahamian residency into the country during the pandemic, as the borders remain closed.
Speaking at a Ministry of Health press conference on Thursday, Sands said the approval was issued for the delivery of the cargo only, as the Ministry of Health was expected to receive a donation of 2,500 double swab diagnostic test kits.
He said, “The whole world is competing aggressively for test kits. They are hard to obtain.
“As Minister of Health I thought it was a matter of urgency.
“We then received a last-minute and unexpected request for the donors, who are permanent residents in the Bahamas and were traveling on the same private plane, to disembark.”
Dr. Sands was heavily criticized following a local news daily published an article with the headlines, “Americans allowed in.”
Opposition Member of Parliament for Englerston Glennys Hanna Martin joined the choruses of criticism levied against the government for allowing the permanent residents entrance but denying the entrance of Bahamian citizens who wish to return home, as the borders are closed due to the national shutdown.
Dr. Sands explained, “The plane was here to make an urgent and needed donation. I made the decision to allow the couple to disembark.
“The pair was not displaying symptoms of COVID-19 upon their arrival and was evaluated by a nurse of the airport’s Public Health Surveillance Unit,” he said.
He said they were tested for the virus and were instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Sands said he remains grateful for the donation of test kits as the Ministry of Health needs to increase testing to protect the health and lives of Bahamians.
On Monday, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said his government is working to bring Bahamians home and admonished them to make contact with the Bahamian embassy in Miami.
He said there were over 200 Bahamians waiting to return to the country, whom he said will be quarantined upon their return.
Davis said he was happy to hear the government’s plan to reopen the border for Bahamians stuck abroad.