NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield said yesterday The Bahamas could be headed for the “worst period of the pandemic”.
Henfield led debate in the House of Assembly on a resolution to extend the emergency orders to November 30.
He said public health experts predicted months ago the winter months could worsen the situation as more people in the northern hemisphere remain indoors where the virus spreads more easily.
“The pandemic is not close to being over,” he said.
“It will last well into next year. In fact, the world and The Bahamas may be currently heading into the worst period of the pandemic.
“In the Americas, Europe, and parts of Asia, the outbreak is getting worse. Across Europe, new and greater restrictions and lockdowns, and curfews are being implemented.”
Henfield continued: “Sadly, the predictions of the public health experts are being proven correct.
“COVID-19 cases are soaring across the northern hemisphere.
“Again, record cases are being recorded in North America and Europe.
“The global COVID-19 public health emergency is getting worse.”
Henfield said while cases of the virus on many of the Family Islands remain low, New Providence continues to be challenged.
But he said on other Family Islands, the number of infections is on the rise because “some from New Providence are helping to spread the virus”.
The minister said the Bahamian people should prepare for cycles of tightening and loosening as the number of infections fluctuates in parts of the country.
He said as cases of the virus rise in a particular area, the government will introduce area-specific restrictions to save lives.
As it relates to the extension, Henfield said the government’s objective is to only put in place “necessary restrictions”.
He also said the emergency orders are not intended to “concentrate power” in the hands of the competent authority, but to give the Cabinet an opportunity to manage the virus based on the advice of medical experts.
“We do not like lockdowns,” Henfield said.
“A lockdown is a last resort tool in our arsenal of measures.
“Members of the House and the public should be aware of the national and regional lockdowns currently taking place around the world, including in Europe.”
According to Henfield, anyone who asserts the emergency powers are unnecessary in the face of the health crisis is being irresponsible.
He said it has been disappointing when “some in our country fail to offer well-considered and intelligible ideas to help fight the pandemic”.
Henfield said in many countries, the government and opposition have agreed of the emergency orders, and in some countries, the official opposition has called on even greater restrictive measures than those the government proposed.
Henfield said the government understands that residents wish to return to their lives pre-COVID, and there is exhausting with the ongoing restrictions.
“This is understandable,” the minister said.“We are social creatures.
“We derive meaning and happiness and support from close, intimate bonds with others.
“While this frustration is understandable, we as a people must also be wise.
The Bahamas recorded another 56 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.
Of the new infections, there were 34 cases in New Providence, nine in Grand Bahama, four in Eleuthera, one in Abaco, one in Exuma, and seven cases with unknown locations.
Total cases increased to 6,466, of which 2,307 remain active.
Another 3,987 cases have recovered.
This represents 61 percent of cases.