New infections on Abaco, GB on the rise
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Cases of the coronavirus declined 44 percent in The Bahamas last week compared to the week before, but reported testing figures also dropped by more than half during those two periods.
Between October 14 and October 20, The Bahamas recorded 860 new confirmed cases.
From October 21 to October 27, there were 478 new infections.
However, testing during the second period was down 63 percent, with 2,706 tests completed last week, compared to the 7,484 tests reportedly completed during the previous week.
An analysis of the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 data revealed the trend.
New cases were down in New Providence, where the majority of cases have been recorded.
A total of 417 cases were recorded last week on the island, compared to 681 the week before.
But new cases in Abaco increased last week, with six recorded, compared to the two cases the week prior.
New cases in Grand Bahama also increased last week, with 60 new cases.
There were 18 cases recorded on the island the week before.
Restrictive measures were reintroduced on New Providence and Abaco on October 9 amid a rapid rise in cases on both islands.
This includes the discontinuation of indoor and outdoor dining, and a return of drive-thru, takeout and delivery service; a weekday curfew between 7pm and 5am, and a weekend 24-hour curfew that begins on Fridays at 7pm and ends on Mondays at 5am.
During weekend curfews, gas stations, food stores, pharmacies and water depots remain closed to the public.
Last Monday, Chief Medical Officer Dr Peal McMillan said sufficient time had not elapsed for the impacts of the measures to be reflected in the data.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and health officials will update the nation on the pandemic at 5pm today.
On Monday, Parliament extended the public state of emergency in The Bahamas to November 30.
At the time, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar said the country is forging ahead with its tourism reopening set for November 1 and the removal of the 14-day quarantine for travelers.
The move is intended to jumpstart the country’s economy.
New testing mechanisms will also be implemented for travel to support the reopening.
The new regime will require visitors, returning citizens, and residents to obtain an RT-PCR test no more than seven days before traveling to The Bahamas; a rapid antigen test will be conducted upon arrival, and again five days (96 hours) after their arrival.
Meanwhile, health officials have said the removal of the quarantine period for travelers could come with several challenges.
While there has been pushback in some quarters of the public to continued curfew and lockdown measures, government and public health officials have maintained that these measures have proven to slow the spread of the virus.
The prime minister and other officials have foreshadowed that as COVID-19 cases rise in particular areas, the government could introduce area-specific restrictions to fight the virus’ spread.