TURNING POINT: Bahamas approaching end to emergency phase of pandemic, says prime minister

TURNING POINT: Bahamas approaching end to emergency phase of pandemic, says prime minister

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — In a national address at 11am yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said with the new supply and continued uptake of the life-saving vaccine, The Bahamas is “beginning the process to end the emergency phase of the pandemic”.

To this end, he underscored the importance of the United States donating nearly 400,000 Pfizer vaccine doses, 128,000 of which arrived in-country last week.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis delivers a national address yesterday.

Another 38,400 doses of Johnson & Johnson, a one-dose vaccine, arrived in The Bahamas yesterday morning, offering a third vaccine option.

AstraZeneca was first rolled out in mid-March.

“We can now vaccinate ourselves out of the emergency phase of the pandemic,” Minnis said.

“This does not mean the pandemic will quickly go away.

“Indeed, the pandemic will continue for some time around the world, with the risk of other variants.”

According to the prime minister, the public will have to continue to abide by commonsense public health measures such as wearing facial masks.

The government tabled draft legislation to replace the emergency orders for public consultation.

The emergency orders will end on November 13, 2021, unless extended.

Minnis said while the government still faces challenges during the ongoing surge, his administration has spent more than $7 million on public health resources to help battle the ongoing wave.

This includes creating more beds and spaces to treat COVID patients, as well as bringing in more healthcare and medical personnel.

Over the next six weeks, health officials expect to fully vaccinate over 60,000 Bahamians.

The Ministry of Health recorded 114 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, including 99 on New Providence, nine on Grand Bahama, two on Abaco, one on Eleuthera, two on Exuma and one on Andros.

There were 14 additional deaths also recorded, bringing the total number of deaths related to the virus to 330, while 44 deaths remain under investigation and non-COVID-related deaths stand at 88.

Hospitalizations are at 149, with 133 cases moderately ill and 16 in Intensive Care Units.

About Royston Jones Jr.

Royston Jones Jr. is a senior digital reporter and occasional TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. Since joining Eyewitness News as a digital reporter in 2018, he has done both digital and broadcast reporting, notably providing the electoral analysis for Eyewitness News’ inaugural election night coverage, “Decision Now 2021”.