PM orders nationwide lockdown, healthcare system approaching capacity

PM orders nationwide lockdown, healthcare system approaching capacity
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis (BIS) (FILE PHOTO)

108,000 people are receiving food assistance

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has announced a national lockdown for the entire country that will begin tomorrow at 10pm.

Minnis announced the move as he revealed ICU beds are at capacity and non-critical care beds are approaching capacity due to the continued surge in COVID-19 cases.

He said the lockdown will last for a minimum of two-weeks, and will be reassessed near the end of this period.

Grand Bahama is currently under a lockdown order that will expire on Friday, August 7.

Minnis said an assessment will be made on Friday to determine whether an extension is necessary.

The prime minister acknowledged the measure was given at short notice and on Emancipation Day, which marks the freedom of enslaved Africans in the British colonies.

However, he underscored the nature of the virus required “quick and aggressive” action.

Today, health officials reported 31 new confirmed cases, 22 in Grand Bahama and nine in New Providence.

The prime minister warned a further increase is expected before the current surge is brought under control.

He noted recent data shows direct links to travel to COVID-19 hotspots, adding most of the cases are individuals between the ages of 20 and 4o.

Minnis pleaded for those in quarantine to remain in isolation until the end of that period, and for the wider public to adhere to health protocols.

“There has been an exponential increase in the number of cases, an increase in hospitalizations, an increase in the demand for ICU beds, and sadly, an increase in the number of deaths,” he said.

“The more cases that present to health institutions the more services will be needed, and right now our bed capacity and Human Resources are being increasingly stretched.

“Health officials advise that a lockdown will allow for the repurposing of health facilities and addition of health resources to accommodate increased need for hospitalization and healthcare support.

They also advise that a lockdown will provide the opportunity for enhanced contact tracing, which will identify cases before they become very ill and prevent the spread of infection by the contacts.”

“The extension, relaxation, or cessation of the national lockdown will be determined by the cooperation of Bahamians and residents alike,” he said.

“The longer we take collectively to bring this second wave under control, the longer it will take to resume to a sense of normalcy. All of our actions collectively make a difference during this pandemic. We all have a personal and social responsibility in the fight against COVID-19.”

Minnis said careful consideration has been given to essential needs.

The following essential services will be allowed to operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7am to 5pm for the general public, and on Saturday from 7am to 1pm for essential workers only.

Those services include: food stores, water depots, pharmacies from curbside and takeaway windows, hardware stores with curbside service, and gas stations for external services only.

All businesses are required to suspend operations, with staff working remotely where possible, with no curbside, takeaway dining or retail operations.

Minnis said the Secretary to the Cabinet and permanent secretaries will give instructions to Public Officers.

Commercial banks, international banks and trust companies will be allowed to have a skeleton team to support restricted hours of operation until 1pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

According to Minnis, private medical facilities will be restricted to emergency medical care and immunization services only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

All routine services are to be suspended, he said.

Caretakers, certified by the Ministry of Health, will be permitted to carry out home healthcare services; essential commercial ports will be permitted to carry out their respective services; and other caretakers will be permitted to maintain crops and animals

Families will still be able to hold funeral services at the graveside only with no more than five attendees, excluding officials and mortuary staff.

Churches will be permitted to have up to 10 people on site to facilitate live streaming and virtual services.

There is no change in the travel policy as outlined in the most recent emergency powers order.

“I know that a lockdown like this is the last thing we wanted as a country,” Minnis said.

“I know the nation is hurting, that our economy is in a terrible state, that many business people are struggling, that many workers are now unemployed, that families are scared.”

Minnis continued: “We are taking the required necessary measures to comprehensively battle COVID-19.”

“I promise you we can rebuild our economy and our society, but what we cannot do is bring people’s lives back. We can rebuild but we cannot recreate a new life.”

The prime minister said food distribution will only be limited to Monday, Wednesday and Friday by zone leaders in different areas of The Bahamas, including The Bahamas Feeding Network, Red Cross, One Eleuthera Foundation and IDEA Relief.

Minnis said 108,000 people are receiving food assistance from the National Food Distribution Taskforce, based on a household average of four people.

15 comments

So… You are locking down the Bahamian’s again and still letting the tourists in??? Over here in bimini we see the American’s coming everyday and definitely not being quarantined as you outlined in the travel policy… No masks… Etc…
If the Bahamian’s and residents are locked down then close the border again. That may be the only hope….or let the Bahamian peoples choose to either be smart and social distance or for those that choose not to then so be it. These lockdowns are not helping at all. As soon as you opened the border to the American’s you let the virus in! And this is not a cut down to the American’s from Florida this is common sense. Take a page from the Canadaians… They got it right….

Are the administration offices open during this lockdown? The people need some clarification. They havent addressed all issues… Like… Can we still gonout on boats with 2 people? Or is that rule only for the visitors?

The Bahamas is becoming a very interesting case study in how to destroy an economy. With such a low testing rate it’s impossible to get a handle on the virus. Thus leading to continued lockdowns. At this rate how many businesses will survive? Practical management is the key. People will die that is a fact of life that must be accepted. My hope is that in the end there isn’t irreparable damage done to the economy. Damage causing the country to fall into a deep depression. Unlike the United States and other developed countries, the Bahamas can’t create or print money to solve the economic damage to come if the country continues on it’s current path.

And when your hospitals r overrun? Then what? That’s the purpose of the lockdown to minimize the effect on healthcare… u want people dying in your streets?

Why not lock down the over 50’s of the population. Since they are the most likely to die from the virus..why lockdown the young and strong who get over the illness in a few days?

If you know the economy can be built back then opening the borders when it was just 104 cases was definately a stupid idea to begin with. Now look at you, dont know your butt from your elbow, cases surging out of control and the hospital can’t even handle less than 1000 cases let alone if they start increasing exponentially. You and your competent authority alone has killed the Bahamas and put Bahamians in a state hardship. Why should you care though, you get to be chaufered around in that black PM mercedes and live carefree in the penthouse of your building top of the hill tropical gardens. Looking at you, I’ve never seen shit pile so high in my life.

This a bunch of bullshit! Just come out and say the world has an agenda to manipulate numbers so that our freedom can be taken away… Only to be given back to us as something new…then stick a mandetory vaccine in us and say all will be well! Wanna pass a law… Need the bullshit statistics to go with it. We all know what this is about… and who dnt know will figure it out soon

This a bunch of bullshit! Just come out and say the world has an agenda to manipulate numbers so that our freedom can be taken away… Only to be given back to us as something new…then stick a mandetory vaccine in us and say all will be well! Wanna pass a law… Need the bullshit statistics to go with it. We all know what this is about… and who dnt know will figure it out soon

The man doesn’t no what he is doing.All of the lock down is to try and hide his failure as a prime minister.He and the FNM has destroyed the poor people in the Bahamas Please Lord rescue us from dumbness.This government is 10 times worst than the last one

There is something that should be said when the cure starts to be worse than the disease. Every country has to balance limiting the spread of the disease, while keeping the economy afloat.

This is not a second wave! This is opening the floodgates and letting what’s out there in. It was always out there Bahamians but your government rolled the dice with your borders.

This is not a second wave. This is opening the floodgates and letting what’s out there in. It has always been out there. Your government took a calculated risk and then did backflips during that risk and now u r paying the price…. for what? SMH

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