PM: Non-compliance causing rapid spread of COVID-19

PM: Non-compliance causing rapid spread of COVID-19
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, during his national address on August 17, 2020. (BIS PHOTO/PATRICK HANNA)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday said COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly due to the failure of many people in The Bahamas to adhere to the health measures to mitigate against the virus.

“The sooner we bring the virus under control the shorter the time will be to return to few restrictive measures,” Minnis said during a national address.

The prime minister announced an immediate seven-day lockdown for New Providence and a continuation of the lockdown in Grand Bahama for seven more days beginning Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, too many people are not taking the current lockdowns and health measures seriously.

“Some people are gathering in groups in their neighborhoods; some are going out when unnecessary; some are not following health guidelines when out in public; some are going out visiting friends and family.

“Some people are even having socials and parties.

“The virus is spreading rapidly because of the failure of many to adhere to life-saving and preventative measures.

“But I also again acknowledge and thank all of those who have followed the health guidelines over the many months.

“Thank you sincerely for your cooperation.”

Yesterday, there were 14 additional confirmed cases — all in New Providence pushing the total to 1,329.

There have been 731 confirmed cases in New Providence, 461 in Grand Bahama, 45 in Bimini, inclusive of Cat Cay, 44 in Abaco, 14 in the Berry Islands, eight on Cat Island, five on Exuma, one in Eleuthera, two in Inagua, one in Andros, and 17 cases pending locations.

A total of 1,116 cases were active.

Aggressive contact tracing

According to the prime minister, 87 percent of the confirmed cases on the Grand Bahama had been contacted and were being monitored, while 80 percent of the contacts of those cases had been identified through contact tracing.

Similarly, of the confirmed cases in New Providence, 82 percent had been contacted and where being monitored, while 80 percent of their contacts had been identified through contact tracing.

Minnis said this was “great news”and boded well to curbing the spread of the virus.

He said aggressive contact tracing was ongoing.

On Friday, health officials revealed there was a backlog of some 800 pending samples.

Yesterday, the prime minister said progress was being made on clearing the backlog of pending cases and the full resources of the government was being used to address the matter.

The prime minister noted the second wave of cases has placed an “exceptional strain” on the healthcare system, and aggressive measures were needed to avoid its collapse.

He said without more restrictive measures, “it will take a very long time to bring the virus under control”.