NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis warned tonight that should coronavirus cases in the country increase before vaccines arrive in the country, restrictive measures could be reimplemented.
During his first national address for the year, the prime minister gave an overview of the government’s mitigation efforts throughout the pandemic.
Minnis said that while the COVID-19 situation in the country remains generally good at this time, with lower case numbers recorded for many weeks, Bahamians must remember that “the pandemic is not over”.
The number of cases in the country stood at 8,004 as of Monday.
“Internationally, more infectious variants of the virus have evolved and been detected,” the prime minister said.
“It is possible that cases will rise again before vaccines arrive.
“If this happens, as a government and people, we will have to return to some of the measures that worked to beat back previous waves.
“Through our experience during the pandemic year, we now know the formula that works. Tough times do not scare us. Difficult circumstances do not break our resolve.
“Coming out of the awful pandemic year, we are working hard every day to ensure you have a brighter future.”
The prime minister insisted that the policies the government implemented during the pandemic slowed the spread of the virus in the country, leading to a generally open and “safe Christmas”.
“Over the many months of the pandemic, we used various restrictions to save lives and to limit the spread of the virus,” Minnis added.
“We made the difficult decisions to implement curfews and restrictions, to reduce infections and to keep Bahamians safe.
“As a medical doctor, I learned it is necessary to take sometimes bitter medicine early, so the illness can be stopped before it’s too late.”
He said the country’s current position, with more openness and lower virus numbers, proves that the “tough choices” made throughout the crisis were the “right ones to protect Bahamians”.
Minnis said the government is working to help businesses reopen and stay open, as well as providing new capital to help entrepreneurs take risks and expand the economy.
He noted international investment projects for 2020 totaled more than $1 billion.
Minnis said that he will provide further information on the economy in the weeks ahead.
He indicated that at the upcoming Bahamas Business Outlook, he will also offer an update on the post-Hurricane Dorian recovery efforts on Abaco, as well as other national developments.