Categorized | National News

Zika Advisory

A day after health officials confirmed three other Zika cases in the country, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said local tourism officials are bracing for a potential travel advisory on the deadly disease.

Yesterday the number of cases climbed by three, with there being an additional 83 suspected cases, eight of them pregnant women.

Mr. Wilchcombe said in the event that the Centres of Disease Control (CDC) issue an advisory, the country’s main industry can be adversely affected.

“We have to keep monitoring, and we have to be tenacious with our marketing of The Bahamas to ensure the public that we’re diligent in everything we have done. I think the public wants assurance that we are mindful of the issues and that we are doing all that we can do,” Mr. Wilchcombe said.

He noted that the virus is not exclusive to The Bahamas, as there are approximately 55 countries and territories with active zika virus transmission.

“We have to be mindful, but at the same time we have to ensure the world community that The Bahamas is doing all it can to monitor and that we’re diligent in our efforts with the Ministry of Health. We have to recognise that the world will react,” he said.

The CDC has so far issued a travel alert for 14 countries.

Meantime, Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis challenged the government to take a very aggressive approach in combating the disease.

Alluding to the potential travel warning, Dr. Minnis reiterated the possibility of revenue decrease; which he said can have a devastating ripple effect on the country financially.

“If you have an epidemic and so many Zika cases, you know how costly that will be to the health sector? It means that your health budget now goes up because you have all these neurological cases to deal with. Money is now being moved from different ministries, which means that their budgets are somewhat sacrificed or decreased,” he said.

“Travel warning, Tourism is shot, health budget shot. The revenue stream decrease, the budget increases, and you are further downgraded,” he added.

Meantime it is against this back drop that Dr. Minnis said more revenue should be pumped into The Ministry of Health in order to tackle this epidemic head on.

Additionally, the opposition leader admonished the government to remember the risk of the disease goes beyond the capital and to focus on the family islands’ safety as well.





Written by Jones Bahamas

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