NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Health Renward Wells today defended the government’s use of lockdowns throughout the pandemic, insisting that lockdowns have been proven to break the transmission of the virus during the country’s first and second waves.
Wells was responding to questions by reporters outside Cabinet regarding the effectiveness of lockdowns.
He explained while local health officials are calling for stricter lockdown measures, the government is seeking to strike a balance for economic stability.
His comments also come amidst renewed suggestions from the World Health Organization, appealing to world leaders to stop using lockdowns as a method to curb the spread of COVID-19 in their countries.
Wells maintained that lockdowns have been proven to work in both Grand Bahama and Bimini throughout the first and second wave of cases.
“What we’re seeking to do is manage lockdowns without completely damaging and destroying our economic life,” he said.
“So the government of The Bahamas, health professionals, are calling for a more stringent lockdown but we as policy makers have to balance the lockdowns that are being requested with the aspirations of the Bahamian people and the economic desire of the Bahamian people to be able to get out there and work.
“That’s where the health protocols come in place, if we all obey them.”
Wells further insisted that the government will continue to use the same plan it has had in place during the first wave, but with some augmentation.
“We are seeking to reduce the amount of social interactions that Bahamian people are engaging in…and seeking to give the Bahamian people the day in which they can work.”
Quoting the Bible: Wells said: “We should work while it is your day, for the night comes when no man works.”
He added: “We’re seeking to simply have the Bahamian people engaging in the kinds of activities that they ought to be engaging in the day and we’re seek to reduce that at night and to reduce the social interactions on the weekend with a hope of us being able to continue to contain this virus.”
Last week, Dr David Nabarro, WHO’s special envoy on COVID-19, made the appeal to world leaders during an interview with the British-based show, Spectator TV last week.
He insisted that countries must learn to coexist with the virus in a way that does not require constant closing down of economies, or associated with high levels of suffering and death.
Nabarro said lockdowns are only justified to buy time for countries to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources
“Remember, lockdown has just one consequence that you must never ever belittle and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,” he said.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced reintroduced restrictive measures on the New Providence and Abaco, including “full, 24-hour weekend curfew”.
The nightly curfew on Mondays through Fridays will be in effect between 7pm and 5am beginning starting today.