Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis in his national address to the country on Monday evening, August 17th, 2020, announced that the island of New Providence and the island of Grand Bahama, both placed in a Covid-19 risk level 3 category, would have their lockdowns extended for a period of seven days. Grand Bahama’s lockdown would begin as of Tuesday, August 18th, and would continue as an extension of current emergency orders.
The lockdown in New Providence, however, said PM Minnis, would take the form of a week-long total lockdown to begin with immediate effect, which would allow health officials to assess the data to help inform the way forward on that island.
Explaining that the government would take a localized response approach with differentiated treatment for the Family Islands depending on risk criteria, Minnis listed out the islands considered to be at a level 1 risk, describing them as having been assessed as having minimal risk, because of having no cases, no suspected Covid-19 activity or no heightened risk. Level 1 islands currently have no curfew or lockdown in place, however, he said, they were still required to exercise all the established preventative health measures and protocols. These islands included: Mayaguana, Inagua (which has two reported cases), Chub Cay, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay, Long Island, Rum Cay, and Ragged Island.
All other islands in the Bahamas were categorized under level 2. Prime Minister Minnis said the following about these islands, which included Eleuthera, “These islands are considered to have high risk in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, based on the performance of the indicators being monitored by our health professionals. These islands are presently under current restrictions found under the Emergency Powers Covid-19 Pandemic Lockdown Order 2020… The current restrictions will continue to apply to all other islands presently under the Emergency Powers Covid-19 Pandemic Lockdown Order 2020.”
Highlights from the PM’s address published on the Office of the Prime Minister’s social media page clarified that Family Islands still currently under lockdown (Eleuthera included) would remain under those lockdown restrictions until Tuesday, August 25th, 2020.
The Prime Minister’s national address followed a record-breaking weekend of more than 200 confirmed cases reported by the Ministry of Health, with the highest number of cases reported in a single day on Saturday, August 15th, of 133, another 63 confirmed cases reported on Sunday, August 16th, and 14 cases reported on Monday, August 17th.
The death toll from Covid-19 in the country stands at 19 people, as of Monday, August 17th, 2020.
Further details of the total week-long lockdown restrictions on the island of New Providence are detailed below, in the Highlights from the Prime Minister’s address (originally published on the Office of the Prime Minister’s social media page).
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PRIME MINISTER’S NATIONAL ADDRESS – MONDAY 17th AUGUST
-Lockdown extended for 7 days, effective immediately and ending 5am Tuesday 25 August.
-Increased restrictions apply to New Providence only
-On Grand Bahama the current lockdown restrictions will continue until Tuesday 25 August
–Other Family Islands still under lockdown, current restrictions remain in place until Tuesday 25 August
-Family Islands where lockdown has been discontinued are not affected.
-Health indicators show more restrictive measures necessary for New Providence – increased new cases, increased hospitalizations and increased deaths.
-At the end of 7 days health officials will assess the status of the virus and determine the way forward
On New Providence:
– Any hospital, public healthcare, public pharmacies and other specified medical facilities will continue to operate. Private medical facilities will be allowed to operate for emergencies only.
– Public offices closed, except for essential staff. Public officers are to work remotely, except those identified in the Emergency Orders or by their respective permanent secretaries.
– Other essential services permitted to operate include the police and defence forces, customs, immigration, correctional services, environmental health services, waste disposal and sanitation, civil aviation, utility corporations for emergency and critical services, National Food Distribution Task Force.
– Hotels permitted to operate with essential staff. Employee names must be submitted to RBPF.
– Media may operate with essential staff and must contact 311 if required to be on the streets of New Providence.
– International shipping, freight forwarders and domestic freight permitted to continue.
– Construction permitted.
– All other businesses and commercial activities will be closed.
– Food Distribution Task Force will continue food distribution program Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
– Contact 311 if you need to leave your residence in the case of an emergency.
– Police will check all vehicles, including government vehicles, to confirm reason for being on the streets.
– Subsistence and commercial fishing from New Providence prohibited during this period.
– Previously planned graveside funerals may continue within existing guidelines. Weddings not permitted.
– Religious organizations may continue to live-stream from premises on Saturday and Sunday under existing guidelines and after contacting the police at 311.
– Exercise permitted 5am – 8am daily within immediate neighborhood, and within your yard without a time limit.
– No international flights permitted to enter New Providence. International flights and vessels permitted to depart from New Providence.
– No domestic travel between New Providence and other islands of The Bahamas, except for freight and emergencies.
– Significant advances made in contact tracing program.
– On Grand Bahama 87% of COVID-19 confirmed cases contacted and monitored, and 80% of contacts of cases identified.
– On New Providence, 82% of COVID-19 confirmed cases contacted and monitored, 80% of contacts of cases identified.
Read the Prime Minister’s full address here: Prime Minister Minnis National Address – August 17, 2020 v2
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