NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis today urged hotel workers to exercise “discipline and responsibility” as mega-resort properties resume operations.
Addressing the recent spike in cases, the prime minister assured that the country’s health team was prepared for a slight uptick following the US Thanksgiving holiday and related travel of Bahamians, adding measures would be taken to avoid “any form of third wave”.
Minnis toured the first phase of the $250 million-dollar Hurricane Hole project on Paradise Island today.
The facility is expected to open in January with retail, commercial activity, residences and fine dining.
Minnis said: “Only thing I can say to those Bahamians who return to work to Atlantis, to the Pointe, to Baha Mar, that they themselves display some sort of responsibility and discipline.
“They must display some form of discipline and responsibility that they cannot work in that environment and then as you leave just go party. You must be very responsible; you can possibly introduce infection into the work environment, resulting in the entire facility closing down, affecting yourselves and the economy at large. So, protocols have been put in place to minimize that, but in spite of the protocols, they themselves have some degree of responsibility and I hope that we would all take it very seriously.”
The Ministry of Health confirmed 38 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. It represents the first double-digit number of infections recorded in a single day since last week Thursday.
Of the new cases Wednesday, there were 20 on Grand Bahama, 15 on New Providence, two on Exuma and one on Bimini and Cat Cay.
According to the Ministry of Health, seven people onboard a cargo vessel sailing in Bahamian waters near Grand Bahama tested positive for the virus.
Minnis said: “If you follow the cases, those cases they were attributed to a particular freighting vessel coming into Freeport. But we knew and we had anticipated that we would see an increase at least 10 to 14 days after the holiday, Thanksgiving holiday.”
He continued: “We expected a slight increase because of the amount of Bahamians traveling, obviously some would become infected but we were prepared for it and we will deal with it appropriately so as to avoid any form of third wave.”
Minnis also addressed recent calls for unity from former Prime Minister Perry Christie.
Christie said yesterday that the government must seek to ensure “oneness” with the opposition and civil society as it implements policy decisions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minnis said he agreed with the former prime minister that unity was necessary; however, he noted the official opposition has refused invitations to participate in health meetings.
“He’s (Christie) absolutely right when he says there should be unity and we have reached out on many occasions,” Minnis said.
“We invited the opposition to participate in the presentation the same time as we were informed, which meant they would have gotten as much information as we would have got, and they could have given their insight at that particular point in time.”
Minnis added: “They refused to come, so I hope Mr Christie would talk to them.”