A bold unified national effort must commence to fight COVID19 and BP has some suggestions for PM Minnis and Duane Sands!

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Why has URCA not stepped forward to introduce a simple “VANITY CALL IN NUMBER” (like 311 or 511) for COVID19?

Medical workers attend to a patient infected with the novel coronavirus pneumonia in Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Feb 22, 2020. (Photo by Ke Hao/For chinadaily.com.cn via China Daily/Asia News Network)

NASSAU| The Ministry of Health held a press conference on Sunday once again updating the general public on COVID19, outlining the government’s readiness and response to the deadly virus, which has claimed thousands of lives across the world.

The Minister of Health Duane Sands was at the press conference along with his Chief Medical Officer Dr. McMillan and leading the press event was former CMO Dr. Dahl Regis.

The pandemic, which has swept the world in the last few months, has claimed the lives of some 14,366 victims [at last count] and has forced new warlike, draconian measures, restricting the freedoms of citizens around the globe.  Here in the Bahamas we are under a STATE OF EMERGENCY, which has done the same with a curfew now in place restricting the movement of citizens between 9pm and 5am. Looking back we don’t recall such measures to restrict such freedoms since Burma Road.

COVID19 is creating havoc around the world; forcing widespread economic fallout, forcing massive layoffs, affecting large industries and turning medical emergency rooms into catastrophic morgues of the dead. It is bad.

The houses of prayer are all in lockdown around the world and some as in Italy have turned into funeral homes housing the dead.

And while, as in Hurricane Dorian, Bahamians are being asked to isolate, stay inside, stop mingling, and lockdown there are crowds almost everywhere you go, from foodstores to domino tables on beaches.  Bahamians are still carrying on as usual –THIS IS NOT ADVISABLE! This is no time to party or celebrate what can only be described for many as a long extended vacation in isolation. WE ALL MUST HEED THE WARNINGS!

And, so, Bahamas Press has some advice for the leadership in the country:

1.     The lockdowns must be more broadly enforced as we believe this initial temporary measure is insufficient in correcting the crisis set to bring our emergency rooms to its knees if it remains unchecked!

2.     We must immediately involve more voices in the Emergency Press Events led by the Prime Minister, including all political [FNM/PLP/DNA and whoever else], religious and civic groups leaders to expand the reach and appeal to citizens, echoing loudly the messages of caution and restraint. [How is it we could have come together for gender equality messages – but today we cannot do the same now to save lives in this COVID19 pandemic?]

3.     The Government must – with immediate haste – engage the Collective Council of ECONOMIC ADVISORS, including all stakeholders in industry, and commence to discuss the fallout of the pandemic on the country. There will be millions in lost revenue with a skyrocketing unemployment constituency which could collapse the nation. THIS TOO MUST BE A UNITED EFFORT!

4.     We call on the Prime Minister/Minister Duane Sands to organize URCA to publish a “VANITY CALL IN NUMBER” (like 311 or 511) for COVID 19. Just like we have now for the police control 911, which can route emergency dispatch to the multiple agencies now dealing with this growing crisis! Bahamians affected by COVID 19 and those who already exhibit panic will not remember any long digit numbers which circulated at the press conference. WHERE IS URCA!?

This is the Digital Age. There is no need for people under stress to have to remember one number for 9 – 5 digits.

Simply Call Forward the numbers as you do on your Business/Home phone to Mobile Phones. This technology has been around for ages and the major phone companies can assist.

There is also an URGENT NEED for an alert/text blast system to keep residents around the country with mobile phones to the residents to what is happening with COVID19 and URCA/THE GOVERNMENT must lead in this effort! TEXT BLASTS these emergency updates to phones!

5.     To get a grip on much of the additional logistics like persons asking questions about jobs, their state of unemployment, etc., additional systems of online/social media and question call centers must be established! The aftermath of COVID 19 will be worse than the health challenges to come and we must all get onboard before this invisible enemy attacks!

6.     As we have suggested since last week – and cannot stress it enough –TESTING! TESTING! TESTING! And More TESTING for COVID 19 – More Free TESTING to everyone who seeks these tests must be done! Early testing will deliver early treatment, tighten quarantine measures and better control person-to-person spread of the deadly virus once we know who is infected.

7. Again as we stated in a release last week The Bahamas Government must engage its regional partners and friends to ready the country for this TSUNAMI event! We should apply now [as both Jamaica and Italy have done] to our neigbour to the south CUBA, for help to assist our Health Department with the needed support. Cuba and the Bahamas already have some medical agreements in place and we should begin to quickly visit these to support our ready efforts for COVID19.

This is no time for anyone to be playing games! Covid 19 is deadly and devastating with far-reaching consequences. We are all in this together! And we must fight it together putting aside our differences. Prime Minister Minnis, you must make the big and bold step to include all talents and gifts within your reach to combat this crisis! You cannot do this alone!

We report yinner decide!