Tue | Sep 29, 2020

PM announces total lockdown of Bahamas after COVID-19 spike

Published:Tuesday | August 4, 2020 | 9:34 AM
Bahamas Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis - Contributed photo

NASSAU, Bahamas, CMC – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis Monday night announced a “complete national lockdown” of every island in the Bahamas for at least the next two weeks after the country recorded a significant spike in the number of cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a national broadcast, Minnis said that acting on the advice of the health experts “I am announcing today a national lockdown for the entire country commencing tomorrow, Tuesday, August 4 at 10:00 p.m.

“The national lockdown will be for a minimum of two weeks [and] nearing the end of this period we will assess the health data and advise whether a further lockdown period is necessary. The extension, relaxation, or cessation of the national lockdown will, in part, be determined by the cooperation of Bahamians and residents alike.”

Minnis, who is also a medical practitioner, said the longer Bahamians take collectively “to bring this second wave under control, the longer it will take to resume a sense of normalcy.

“All of our actions collectively make a difference during this pandemic. We all have a personal and social responsibility in the fight against COVID-19. Both government and citizens must play their part in helping to protect the health of others. Each island in our archipelago must do its part,” he added.

Minnis said that the increase in COVID-19 cases is not only a situation confronting the Bahamas, but that many countries worldwide were also experiencing this second wave of the virus for which there is no known vaccine.

“Just as we acted aggressively and forcefully during the initial outbreak of the pandemic, we must once again act quickly and forcefully to protect the general health and to save lives,” he said, adding that over the past two weeks health officials have seen an increase in the number of indicators that point to the need for a national lockdown.

“There has been an exponential increase in the number of cases, an increase in hospitalisation, an increase in the demands for intensive care unit beds, and sadly an increase in the number of deaths,” Minnis said.

“Right now our bed capacity and human resources are being increasingly stretched. Health officials advice that a lockdown will allow for a re-purposing of health facilities and addition of health resources to accommodate the increased need for hospitalisation and health care support”.

The Ministry of Health reported on Monday that there were 31 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 22 in Grand Bahama and nine in New Providence.

It said this brings the total number of cases to 679, with 572 of those active.

There have been 14 deaths.Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us @onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.