Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Dahl-Regis Says Islands With Direct International Flights Were Not Reopened

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The adviser to the prime minister says a number of determinants are considered before an island is reopened

As the opposition party criticizes the reopening of some Family Islands, as other islands remain closed, Advisor to the Prime Minister and Task Force Coordinator Merceline Dahl Regis said a few criteria were used to determine the reopening of islands.

Speaking at the Ministry of Health’s press conference on Thursday, Dahl-Regis said, “We have been monitoring the implementation of the public health measures on those islands. We are looking at the inter-ministerial surveillance of those islands to look at the traffic flows to the islands.”

She added that the response of the local team is also a determining factor as many teams, she said, are asking for a phased approach to reopening, due to the traffic that is occurring on some islands, particularly from pleasure vessels, Dahl-Regis said.

She said that the islands with international direct flights were not reopened.

“Club Med in San Salvador receives international flights from France and Italy. We know that with surveillance activities, we want not to open up those islands to commercial activities because that would certainly be a challenge to monitoring the activities there.”

Dr. Dahl-Regis was certain that if the islands that are still closed, continue without new cases of Covid-19, they would be reopened.

“So we use that guidance. We are planning that if these measures remain or impact the no new cases for a further period of time that we would certainly recommend that they be considered for reopening for commercial activities.

Along with the southern islands of the Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced the reopening of Abaco, Andros, Cat Island and Long Island, for commercial activities.

However, heavy criticism came from the Deputy Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party Chester Cooper who demanded that his constituency of Exuma be reopened as there was no scientific proof, he said, for it to remain closed.

Opposition Leader Philip Davis joined the chorus saying, “People want policies that are based on science and common sense – instead everyone’s worrying that decisions are being driven by politics and inside access.

“Why are some islands with zero COVID cases open for business, but others in the same position are not?

Davis continued, “Don’t look for an answer from the health officials: they told us they have no idea why.

“So why are the people of Exuma, Eleuthera and San Salvador being prevented from earning a living, being with family, putting their lives back together? Fix this. Now,” he demanded.

#covid19bahamas #plp

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