Wells: Vaccines are our silver bullet
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Despite a recent surge in COVID-19 cases and reports of large gatherings, Health Minister Renward Wells has highlighted a need for more enforcement instead of restrictions.
Wells was responding to concerns of more and more events being held amid the third coronavirus wave in the country.
Asked whether the government is minded to implement additional restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, the health minister said: “I don’t know if it calls for more restrictions; it just calls for more enforcement.”
The promotors of a large party held over the weekend were cited nearly $100,000 in fines for the event, which had more than 300 people — against COVID-19 protocols.
In videos and photos widely circulated on social media, hundreds of people appeared to be gathering and partying at a West Hill Street venue on Sunday, with many of the attendees not following social distancing protocols or wearing protective face masks.
Wells noted that while the COVID enforcement unit was notified about that latest event, the public has a responsibility to continue to report similar incidents.
“If we are not aware that the event is going on and no one at the event calls, or no one happening to pass by the event who sees the event calls, then the COVID enforcement unit will not be able to respond to it,” he said.
The health minister also noted that during the second wave of cases in September last year, there was no vaccine available, so tighter restrictions such as lockdowns, curfews and weekend lockdowns had to be deployed.
“We have a silver bullet. We have a vaccine. I am again asking my people to step forward and take the vaccines. It is good for what ails us,” he said.
Wells insisted that the government is committed to its current course of action, which is vaccinating as many Bahamians who want to be.
“It isn’t that we’re not willing to move in circumstances to try and gain greater control of increasing cases; it’s just that we have a particular course, based on the science, that we believe is going to yield us the kind of results to bring the numbers down,” he said.
He once again urged Bahamians to adhere to health protocols, including social distancing, wearing masks and sanitizing.
“We are a bold, beautiful, creative, innovative, passionate people who are extremely disciplined when we want to be,” Wells said.
“…When Bahamians are not interesting in adhering, they’re not going to adhere to it.”
He added: “If we could just move through while we are vaccinating — folks, just adhere to the protocols.
“I know the country is going to be in a better place and then you will be able to have these kinds of functions because we would have vaccinated folks.
“We would have moved the society to where it needs to be and then there would be no more cause of concern when you sit down with friends and commiserate together, enjoying yourself at an afternoon or evening at an outing.”
The Bahamas recorded 336 cases in January and 335 cases in February.
Cases nearly doubled in March with 613 cases.
This month, there have been nearly 1,000 cases.
The Bahamas has recorded 10, 283 cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, with 613 remaining active.