Bahamas Health Minister Renward Wells says the territory is closely monitoring the situation in the United Kingdom following reports of a virulent strain of the coronavirus emerging in that country.
According to Wells, said there are no immediate plans to impose a travel ban against the UK, but presently, there are no direct flights from the UK to the Bahamas.
“I think those flights are supposed to start again in February and so, we’re just observing it. We’re seeking to ensure that we maintain the health protocols that we have in place that anyone who’s coming into the country has to be able to take the RT-PCR test before they come in. So, we’re seeking to deal with this particular strain at the borders,” the Health Minister said.
“Well, you’re speaking about the virulent strain that is now in the UK – it’s not more deadly than the current COVID that we’re experiencing though it transmits much more readily, much more easily. But we’ve had other strains of COVID also if you remember back in February, March and in Italy, there was a particular strain in Italy that was extremely infectious as well.”
Meanwhile, the Health Minister also announced that the Government will live up to its commitment to make an honorarium payment to healthcare workers who volunteered their time and services during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He told reporters that although those nurses and doctors expected their payment in this month’s payment, the government will have to determine when is the best time financially for it to make the payment of up to US$5,000 for those public healthcare professionals.
“We are looking at the overall finances of the country,” he said.
“Listen, this administration we haven’t sent home one person from government. We have been feeding the Bahamian people. We’ve been seeking to keep the economy of The Bahamas going. When the government is in a position, whereby we can meet that part of our commitment, because that’s an ex gratia payment, it’s an additional payment on your payment already for the works that you have been doing. So when the government is in a better position to do that we will do just that. We will meet our commitment,” he said.