#TheBahamas – April 6, 2020 — Face masks were originally frowned upon as unnecessary in the fight against COVID-19, but now, the benefit of wearing them is increasingly considered an ally to curbing community spread of the deadly virus.
The Bahamas Prime Minister today announced that not only will government buy out all medical face masks in stock in The Bahamas, but government has commissioned production of cotton face masks to be sold to the general public.
“To ensure the availability of masks for the general public, the Government has enabled the production of cotton masks in New Providence through various companies.”
It has become a popular narrative now, individuals who are capable of and those who have no prior experience are sewing masks and not just for themselves. The masks, which are reusable are being stitched up at home and at small factories and in many cases, they are being given away in the war against COVID-19.
Masks were thought to exacerbate the problem and said to be needed only for those who are sick with coughing and sneezing. Experts around the world, especially in the Western hemisphere had condemned use of medical masks for healthy citizens, as being wasteful of precious resources.
An alternative solution which balances using face masks and conserving needed medical supplies, has been widely approved and touted.
“These masks will be washable and re-usable by the ordinary resident. To encourage and enable the large-scale production of cotton masks in the Family Islands, the Small Business Development Centre has been directed to provide funding to tailors and seamstresses so that sufficient masks are also available throughtout the Family Islands,” said Dr. Hubert Minnis, today at a sitting of the House of Assembly.
No doubt, the decision to requisition medical face masks in The Bahamas is also influenced by the Department of Justice of the United States, on Thursday carrying out orders of the Defense Production Act which has barred the export of medical supplies including medical face masks to other countries.
The World Trade Organization, last week revealed that the US is one of the world’s top exporters of medical supplies.
The US leads the world in cases of the coronavirus, with reports from every state bemoaning that their health care facilities are desperately short of supplies. It came as no surprise when US President Donald Trump activated the homeland protection measure, nationally, on Friday.
“Let me note that the production of masks presents an economic opportunity for business people and entrepreneurs,” informed Dr. Hubert Minnis, “Going forward, The Bahamas will have to begin to manufacture a number of items for domestic needs. This will provide economic opportunities and jobs for Bahamians,”
Face masks are now recommended by the American CDC to be worn by the general public in order to stem the spread of the coronavirus, as countries around the world execute tests on current drugs and others work assiduously toward a vaccine.
All reports echo that a vaccine is at least 18-months away.