NASSAU, BAHAMAS — New Year’s Eve parties in contravention of the emergency orders risk regressing The Bahamas’ progress with the coronavirus and will be aggressively “shut down”, according to Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, the minister said authorities had served over $20,000 in fines on Monday alone for breaches of the orders.
Echoing the tone of other government officials, Dames said while he understands the desire of some quarters of the public to close the year with celebratory events, it represents too great a risk and exposes the nation to a potential third wave.
His comments come as the first reported case of the COVID-19 variant recorded in the United Kingdom has been discovered in Colorado on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.
“If you are in violation of the COVID order, then chances are the police will find you out,” Dames said.
“Over the weekend certainly would have been a challenge for police.
“The COVID team were kept certainly busy visiting establishments and many of them were in violation of the COVID orders and many of them were cited.
“So, quite a bit of citations were issued between Christmas Day and just last evening.
“I understand we’re in that time of the year where people feel the need to congregate, celebrate and have a good time, but we can’t forget that this pandemic is still with us and we have to be responsible in whatever it is that we do because we are talking about saving lives here.
“…If we miss that, then all that we would have achieved up to this point will be in vain because you don’t want to face the beginning of 2021 with another increase of COVID cases.
“It will put a strain on our healthcare system, and an additional strain on our economy — the same economy we’re trying to open.”
While vague with details and obscured with a layer of ambiguity, New Year’s Eve events, some of which are slated to take place at popular nighttime spots, have been making the rounds on social media.
The Bahamas has recorded low double-digit cases of the virus per day in the last couple of weeks, a marginal uptick during the holidays when compared to the weeks prior when low single-digit cases were being recorded each day.
The inoculation period for the virus is between two to three weeks.
This means it could be mid-January before the potential impact of the holidays and increased activities is reflected in COVID-19 cases.
Health officials reported there were 11 new cases on Tuesday — five on New Providence and six on Grand Bahama — pushing total cases to 7,857.
Of the total cases, 1,411 remain active.
Meanwhile, 6,221 cases or 79 percent have recovered.
Another 44 cases recovered on Tuesday.
A total of 15 people remain hospitalized, all of whom were moderately ill.
Just shy of 51,500 tests have been performed in The Bahamas.
Two-hundred and ninety-seven tests were completed on Tuesday.
Of these, two were repeated tests and two had inconclusive results.
This represents a positivity rate of around four percent.
Total deaths stand at 170, while 20 remain under investigation.
A total of 35 people have died of other illnesses, with their deaths being labeled as non-COVID-deaths.