PM to announce details on measures in upcoming national address
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis is expected to announce a program for Family Islanders to return to their respective islands from the capital when he addresses the nation tomorrow.
“Keeping our Family Islands safe is one of our top priorities,” said Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis, health consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister.
“To date, authorized individuals can travel to and from the Family Islands to New Providence to receive medical care.
“Additionally, healthcare workers are permitted to travel to respond to medical emergencies or provide a response to COVID-19 situations.
The country’s borders were closed in late March, preventing incoming commercial flights, visitors, residents of Bahamians from entering the country.
Domestic travel was also prohibited.
Dahl-Regis signaled an upcoming announcement at a Ministry of Health press conference yesterday.
“Now the ministry if beginning to receive a lot of requests from Family Island residents, wishing to return home from New Providence.
“Consequently, the ministry has developed a policy and protocol for the approving and monitoring of people traveling into and intra islands.
“The prime minister will outline the policy and protocols during his upcoming national address this weekend.”
While exceptions were made for a dozen Bahamians and permanent residents amid the lockdown, it was not until last week that nearly 190 Bahamians stuck abroad were allowed to return to the country via a repatriation exercise.
Numerous Family Islands remain have had zero cases of the virus.
As of yesterday, there were 96 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas — 74 in New Providence, 13 in Bimini, eight in Grand Bahama and one in Cat Cay.
Last Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced commercial activity on several Family Islands in the southern Bahamas will be allowed to resume Monday.
He said the opening of various Family Islands was set to begin in phase two of the government’s six-phase plan, but the decision was made to gradually reopen the islands by zone.
The islands reopened included Ragged Island, Rum Cay, Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins and Long Cay.
The prime minister said physical distancing and other safety protocols must continue to be practiced and enforced at all times.
Curfew and lockdown measures on all Family Islands remain in effect.