PM Minnis: “We cannot lockdown, open up, lockdown, open up”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday tabled a resolution in Parliament seeking to extend the COVID-19 state of emergency and emergency orders until September 30.
The extension comes as the country experiences a surge in coronavirus cases, with Grand Bahama emerging as a hotspot.
“I only want to remind and inform the Bahamian populace that COVID-19 is not going anywhere,” Minnis said, after laying the document just before 7pm.
“It’s going to be here with us until we have developed a vaccine, so we must learn to live with it.
“Our lives obviously will change, but we cannot lockdown, open up, lockdown, open up.
“That can’t continue and therefore we will have to determine the number and level we can live with.
“Our behavior pattern will have to change but COVID-19 is here with us until the vaccine is established.”
The prime minister acknowledged that the teetering between lockdowns not only frustrates the Bahamian populace, “but you destroy your economy and your international reputation for good”.
The resolution acknowledged that the reopening of the country lead to the significant resurgence.
“…And whereas having regard to the continuing proliferation of confirmed cases in neighboring jurisdictions and access in The Bahamas,” he said.
“And whereas due to economic necessity, The Bahamas reopened the international economy, including the entry of visitors coming from places in which there was extensive community spread of COVID-19, which posed great risk to the public health of The Bahamas.”
It continued: “And whereas since reopening the national economy and allowing the entry of visitors coming from places in which there was extensive community spread and the movement of citizens to and from such places.
“The Bahamas has experienced a significant surge in COVID-19 cases and a state of public emergency in The Bahamas continues.
“And whereas it continues to be necessary and expedient for securing public safety, the defense of The Bahamas, the maintenance of public order, the suppression of [sic] rebellion and riot and for maintaining the supply and services that is essential to the life and wellbeing of the community…”
Parliament is expected to debate the extension of the orders today.
The extension of the emergency orders would provide for the competent authority — the prime minister — to continue existing measures, including the curfew and closure of establishments.
Minnis also tabled the Emergency Powers (COVID-19 Pandemic) (Beaches) (No.2) Order 2020, the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Grand Bahama) (Lockdown) Order 2020, Special Provisions (COVID-19 Pandemic) (Special Provisions) (Amendment) Order 2020, and the Emergency Powers (COVID-19 Pandemic (No. 2) Order, 2020.
On Sunday, during a national address, the prime minister announced the closure of the country’s borders to all incoming international commercial flights, except from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union as of Wednesday.
He also announced the immediate suspension of Bahamasair flights to the United States, alongside increased restrictions and offenses aimed at curbing the virus’ resurgence.
Additionally, Grand Bahama will be placed on a two-week lockdown – which will take effect today at 7pm until August 7 at 5am – to curb the surge of cases on the island.