NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Health minister Renward Wells yesterday said the government will not relax any restrictions that would exacerbate the COVID-19 crisis.
He urged Bahamians to adhere to health protocols to effect a “dramatic reduction” in the transmission of the virus over time.
New travel and testing protocols that would eliminate the mandatory 14-day quarantine for all travelers are expected to take effect on November 1.
“We’re not going to be relaxing any restrictions that would exacerbate the problem that we have,” said Wells when asked for comment ahead of a Cabinet meeting yesterday.
“Every time we would have looked at how we can make it easier for both Bahamians and visitors to come to the country, we’ve also had a stopgap measure that would help to contain any potential spread in the virus.”
He continued: “Folks go at the administration for the three-day allowance that we gave to Bahamians in July. When we said if you went away for three days and came back you didn’t have to test within those three days, and the rationale then was that if you were exposed to the virus abroad sometimes within three days you would not have built up the viral load in your system to even test positive.
“But folks negate the other part of what we did which was we said when you came back you had to quarantine for 14 days. We put an app on your cellphone Hubcatt that was supposed to have monitor persons.”
Wells said: I dare say if all of us would have adhered to the health protocols in place back then, and even if we are adhering to the health protocols now, we would see a dramatic reduction over time in the transmission of this virus. Because those health protocols are there to break the chains of transmission.
“They are circuit breakers,” he said.
“Lockdowns are circuit breakers. Washing your hands when you’ve exposed to the virus is a circuit breaker. Staying six feet away from someone is a circuit breaker. Wiping down your cellphone that you frequently use is a circuit breaker. Coughing into your arms, and sneezing into your arms is a circuit breaker.
“We’re trying to get these health protocols across to the Bahamian people with the view that if we all would continue to be our brother and sisters keeper we will be able to move forward in a very holistic way.”