NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Notwithstanding his impassioned pleas for Bahamians and residents to avoid unessential travel to other jurisdictions, including the United States, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis acknowledged yesterday that many will travel.
He has appealed to residents to opt for Family Island travel, and avoid traveling to jurisdictions such as the United States unless for emergencies.
The prime minister has also encouraged residents to avoid social gatherings during the Thanksgiving and Christmas period.
Responding to questions from the media of whether he believes residents will heed his advice, Minnis said: “I think the mere fact that we’re seeing a decline in the number of infections, I think Bahamians are cooperating.
“Many will travel, but I only urge that while they travel, they will continue to follow the mitigation protocol: continue to wear masks and social distancing, etc. even if it is not a law in that particular country that they’re visiting.
“Remember, the virus does not discriminate and therefore the mask will definitely offer them protection and offer the protection of Bahamians and The Bahamas as they return; and offer protection for our hotels and our employment.”
The Bahamas recorded 14 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday — six on New Providence, four on Grand Bahama, three on Exuma and one with an unknown location.
There have been 7,496 cases in total, of which 1,448 remain active.
Another 5,830 cases have recovered — just shy of 78 percent.
The Bahamas’ positivity rate was just over five percent on Tuesday, in line with internationally recommended standards for reopening.
Restrictions were increased on Exuma and Eleuthera earlier this month amid a surge of cases on both islands.
However, both islands have seen a steady decline in new infections.
While on Exuma yesterday, Minnis thanked Exumians for following the COVID-19 health protocols and increased restrictions.
A health team visited the island yesterday to make an assessment.
The prime minister said following that assessment an announcement would be made as to the way forward.
“I know it is very difficult for individuals here within the island of Exuma,” Minnis said.
“In fact, it is very difficult throughout The Bahamas.
“But when you look at where we are to compare with the other nations of the world, I would say The Bahamas has done a remarkable, outstanding job and I thank the Exumians as well as the Ministry of Health and the health professionals.”