TIMELINE: Eyes on COVID-19 in The Bahamas

TIMELINE: Eyes on COVID-19 in The Bahamas

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases globally has exceeded 1 million. Health officials in The Bahamas have been monitoring the global outbreak since mid-January. Below is a live timeline of virus’ track to the country’s shores, its impact and response efforts.

  • April

    • 20 – There are 64 cases. PMH closes a surgical ward after a patient tested positive for COVID-19. Chinese Embassy in The Bahamas assures safety of Bahamian students in China are being protected amid reports of increased racism
    • 19 – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis reopens construction in the unaffected Family Islands, appeals to businesses to hold off on layoffs. Bahamas Carnival 2020 canceled, new date May 2021.
    • 16 – COVID-19 death toll climbs to nine. S&P downgrades country’s credit rating to junk status. Nearly 900 people in quarantine. Dorian National Service of Remembrance is postponed.
    • 15 – Healthcare workers will receive a $5,000 honorarium and $100,000 life insurance policy. WHO recommends easing restrictions in low case countries. Anglican Diocese has lays off 66 workers.
    • 14 – PLP Deputy Leader Chester Cooper unveils National Progressive Institute COVID-19 response plan.
    • 13 – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis pledges to join healthcare workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 battle if necessary, announces food security task force. Officials consider new tech for widespread testing.
    • 12 – One case of COVID-19 found on Cat Cay.
    • 10 – A shipment of COVID-19 medical supplies that had been blocked by the U.S. is released today. Schools remain closed until further notice. National Insurance Board pays out some $5.34 million over more than 11,000 unemployment benefit claims.
    • 9 – Hydroxychloroquine not approved for COVID-19 treatment. John Bull furloughs workers.
    • 8 – Officials project COVID-19 cases to double by Easter Weekend. Panicked shoppers swarm food stores. A patient tests positive for COVID-19 posthumously.
    • 7 – Wendy’s worker tests positive for COVID-19 – location sanitized, reopened. Chinese embassy in The Bahamas dismisses COVID-19 lawsuit accusing the Chinese government of seeking to weaponize virus.
    • 6 – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis warns asymptomatic COVID-19 “super spreaders” can infect thousands, and announces six-day complete lockdown for Easter holiday. AG Carl Bethel says government’s goal is to have economy reopen in two months.
    • 5 – Ministry of Heath provides definition for “recovered cases“. PM releases food shopping schedule. First physician dies in COVID-19 fight: Veteran nephrologist Dr Judson Frazier Eneas.
    • 3 – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announces complete lockdown until April 6. Doctors Hospital shutdown for deep cleaning after COVID-19 exposure.
    • 2 – Three more cases confirmed, youngest patient is nine years old.
    • 1- Six new cases confirmed in New Providence. Suspected COVID-19 patient is confirmed positive.
  • March

    • 31 – New case on Grand Bahama brings total number of cases on the island to three.
    • 30 – Suspected COVID-19 Bimini patient dies after airlift to capital.
    • 29 – Three more cases are confirmed in New Providence.
    • 28 – A 35-year-old woman with no recent travel history tested positive for COVID-19 in Grand Bahama.
    • 27 – Another case is confirmed in New Providence. There are now nine cases in New Providence and one in Grand Bahama
    • 26 – Four additional cases are confirmed on New Providence, bringing the total number of cases to nine. Health officials say country experiencing a “surge“.
    • 24 – A fifth COVID-19 case is confirmed on Grand Bahama. The patient has no relevant travel history.
    • 23 – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced a 24-hour curfew and border shutdown among additional measures that expand the emergency powers regulations
    • 22 – Health officials announced that they had tested 117 people for the virus.
    • 21 – The judiciary expands its COVID-19 protocols, after reducing court operations just a few days prior.
    • 20 – Fourth case of COVID-19 confirmed in country.
    • 19 – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced emergency orders activating partial nationwide shutdown and nightly curfew.
    • 18 – The government tables emergency COVID-19 regulations. The prime minister confirmed two more cases of COVID-19 in country.
    • 17 – Governor General CA Smith signs a proclamation declaring a public state of emergency.
    • 16 – Bahamas Carnival 2020 is postponed. San Salvador’s Club Med temporarily suspend its operations. The Bahamas Department of Corrections suspended visitations, commissary and all public activities. Braemar cruise ship sets sail for Cuba, where its passengers were flown home.
    • 15 – Officials announce the country’s first case of COVID-19: a 61-year-old Bahamian woman with no recent travel history. Prince George Dock closed as cruise lines world-wide suspended their operations amid the pandemic. The US Embassy cancelled immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments indefinitely. Officials also announced the closure of all schools.
    • 14 – Braemar cruise ship carrying five persons who tested positive for COVID-19 arrived in Bahamians waters but was not allowed to dock.
    • 13 – Bahamas records its first case of COVID-19. Sands confirms the date during a Parliamentary address next month.
    • 12 – The country withdrew from hosting this year’s General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS).
    • 11 – WHO officially classified the global spread of COVID-19 as a pandemic. CMO and ORG director named co-chairs of the National Coordination Committee on COVID-19. Healthcare professionals ran out of the Fleming Street clinic and abandoned an ill-patient over coronavirus fears.
    • 5 – Government expanded COVID-19 travel restrictions to deny entry to non-residents that have traveled to Iran, South Korea, and Italy. MOH began training for possible cases.
    • 4 – Government announced plans to use an additional $4 million from the Contingency Fund to support MOH COVID-19 response. The Quarantine (Novel Coronavirus “2019-NCOV”) Order is tabled, declaring China an “infected place” for six months.
    • 1 – PM Minnis said disease represents a grave threat, announces national coordinating committee. 50 COVID-19 test kits in country, and more being ordered.
  • February

    • 28 – Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) raised the risk of coronavirus disease transmission in the region from “moderate to high”
    • 11 – WHO announced its official name for the virus as “COVID-19”, short for “coronavirus disease 2019.
    • 4 – MOH enacted its Novel Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan (NCPRP).
  • January

    • 30 – Government implemented an immediate travel ban, restricting all travel from China. China had confirmed nearly 10,000 cases.
    • 23 – Chinese government locked down Wuhan – believed to be the epicenter of the outbreak – and cut all transport into and out of city.
    • 20 – MOH announced it was monitoring a coronavirus outbreak in China. This came just days after the World Health Organization (WHO) advised that its China Country office was monitoring cases of pneumonia of “unknown cause” detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China.

Read about the latest developments in the coronavirus outbreak here.

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