Two additional COVID-19 cases on Bimini today
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has announced a two-week lockdown for Bimini after two new cases were confirmed on the island today.
The lockdown will begin at 9pm on Monday, May 19, and end at midnight on May 30.
The entire country is currently under 24-hour curfew, with weekend lockdowns each Friday at 9pm.
Minnis said the measure was “absolutely necessary” to slow and control the community spread of the COVID-19 of the island.
“A lockdown like this is not something that would have been preferred, but it is absolutely necessary because things will get worse of Bimini if we don’t take this strong measure immediately,” Minnis said during a broadcasted address.
“Had it not been for the weather we are experiencing now, the lockdown would have [initiated] sooner.”
He continued: “This May date will be extended for a total of 14 days and this extension will occur as we return to Parliament.
He added: “This measure is absolutely neceesary in order to save and protect the lives of the residents of Bimini.”
Two additional cases of the virus were confirmed on Bimini today, Minnis said.
This brings the cases on the small island up to 13 — the largest number of confirmed cases outside New Providence.
Minnis said the spread will increase if strict adherence to the measures and shelter-in-place is not adhered to.
The prime minister assured residents that there will be sufficient food and medicine for all, and various measures were being taken to ensure safety of workers and residents, including additional police on the island.
Last week, health consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister Dr Merceline Dahl Regis said the government was seriously considering the implementation of a two-week lockdown on Bimini.
She said: “When we look at the Bimini projection, I shared with you earlier when we looked at the all-Bahama projection, there was an exponential increase in cases,” she said.
The island had previously been identified as an “emerging hotspot” for the virus.
The first case on the island also marked the country’s COVID-19-related death.
Kim Johnson-Rolle, 57, a businesswoman and sister to Immigration Minister Elsworth Johnson, died after being airlifted from Bimini to New Providence last month.
She later tested positive for COVID-19.
West Grand Bahama and Bimini MP Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe has called for a two-week lockdown to prevent the further spread of the virus on the western island.
Numerous Biminities, who have spoke with Eyewitness News, have agreed that drastic measures were necessary given the gravity of the situation for the small island community.
Just over 2,000 people reside on Bimini.
As of yesterday, there were 96 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas — 74 in New Providence, 13 on Bimini, eight in Grand Bahama and one in Cat Cay.