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Get Used To It: Weekend Shutdowns For Whole Of April, Easter Written Off By Five-Day ‘Stay In’

A long line outside of Super Value in Winton on Monday. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff

A long line outside of Super Value in Winton on Monday. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

ANOTHER nationwide lockdown will begin at 9pm on Wednesday and last until 5am next Tuesday as the country fights the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced in the House of Assembly yesterday.

“We will experience five days of pain, but a lifetime of resolution,” he said.

He said such strong measures are needed because some people did not listen to warnings to take the COVID-19 threat seriously. Health officials, he said, need time to identify super-spreaders of the virus who may be asymptomatic. He also warned the increase in unemployment as a result of economic fallout from the disease will be “tremendous and greater than most of us have seen in our lifetime.”

Dr Minnis, pictured, acknowledged the five-day lockdown could be especially painful for poor people who may not have a stock of food supplies.

“Growing up in the inner city,” he said, “our grocery shopping pattern was somewhat different from the average person. One day (we would) go to the supermarket and buy one onion and one tomato, may also buy one can of corned beef and a bag of rice. That might last for a day. The following day we may return and buy one onion, a loaf of Purity bread, a pound or two of sausage and one can of tomato paste. That would last one day again. The point I’m driving here is it’s very difficult for the poor individual who is accustomed to shopping just one day at a time and (has) no form of storage or savings. (However) this is essential because there is what we call a ‘super-spreader’.

“The lockdown means you may not leave the confines of your property for any reason, unless there is an emergency or unless you are working in an entity which will be specifically named, or identified by the function being performed, in the lockdown order.”

Dr Minnis said the 24-hour curfew with exemptions for some essential services and activities will resume on April 14 and continue for the remainder of April.

However, the complete shutdown will happen every weekend for the rest of this month.

Exempted groups from the complete lockdown include essential workers at hospitals, the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the media, security services, hotels with guests, emergency units of core publicly and privately owned public utilities that provide electricity, water and telecommunication services and a “strictly limited number of excepted undertakings, such as international import/export trade,” he said.

“As Prime Minister and as a medical doctor, it is my duty to do what is necessary to protect our people. My mind is clear,” he said. “I am focused on what must be done. The best medicine to stop this virus is physical distancing. We must stay apart as much as possible to prevent the spread of this coronavirus and more deaths. That is why I began the curfew and lockdown measures. They are essential to save lives.

“We have watched on the news the consequences around the world of waiting too long to act aggressively. Some countries and jurisdictions that did not act fast enough are experiencing hundreds of deaths per day. We are learning from what happened in those places and applying the lessons to The Bahamas.

“I assure the country that our best minds in public health are working hard behind the scenes to keep Bahamians and residents safe.

“The Bahamas does not have the resources of larger countries. We do not have their production capacity to create drugs and equipment to fight the virus.

“In The Bahamas we must put our focus and our efforts on prevention. That is why we instituted the curfews, shutdowns and lockdown. But for this to work, all of us must do our part. We need our citizens and residents and visitors to comply and to follow the rules. Compliance will help to determine how many deaths there are. We all have it in our hands to save lives. If we follow the rules and listen, if we stay at home, fewer people will die and will get sick. If we are slack, if we do not listen, if some sneak out and break the rules, more people may die.”

Dr Minnis said his government will take “unprecedented” action to help the poor, the vulnerable and those who are no longer employed,” though he did not outline new measures.

He said the government will help small, medium and larger businesses and will aggressively stimulate the economy.

Dr Minnis later said supermarkets will remain open on Thursday from 6am-11am for healthcare workers, police and defence force officers only.

Comments

happyfly 3 months ago

How to make sure that everyone in the country is comprehensively infected as quickly as possible. Limit the amount of time available to shop and scare the pants off everyone with random lockdowns. This will force the entire population to line up and breath on each other for a couple of hours outside the food store and then go home and make sure any new infections are transferred to the rest of the family by being locked up inside an enclosed space together.

Then change the rules daily and use some poorly informed cops and store clerks to try and manage the chaos just to add some fear and frustration to the mix. Good luck Bahamas. I hope you are all working on your own immune systems because this isolation game is turning in to a joke .

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tell_it_like_it_is 3 months ago

I'm sorry to say this was predictable. I said this would happen.
Anyone with a brain could see this would happen. Anyone besides our precious government officials I guess!!! SMH

You're so right. It truly seems they are reading the book "How to Infect an Entire Island at Once, for Dummies!!!"

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joeblow 3 months ago

@happyfly... that might be the plan. If it is then it is quite unethical, but if everyone gets infected quickly then the 80% who will develop immunity will do so within the next few weeks without any ill effects. Of the 20% who develop moderate to severe symptoms about 5% may not make it, but that will also take place in the next few weeks allowing this situation to pass. But it will provide herd immunity if there is a second wave of this virus at any point in the future.

I did find it hard to believe people in the cabinet office could be so stupid as to think this abrupt shutdown was a workable idea!

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ThisIsOurs 3 months ago

British used this herd immunity approach. Didn't work. What did happen, the herd took it home and killed off the elderly

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joeblow 3 months ago

@ ThisIsOurs... herd immunity can only develop by vaccination (which does not exist here) or by allowing an infection to run its course through a population. That provides immunity for a second wave of infections, it does not work in the first wave of infection

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months ago

But in the case of coronaviruses, quite often the second wave of the virus is a slightly mutated but much deadlier strain of the first wave's virus. And all of South America is expected to be ablaze with the Red China Virus in their peak winter months of July, August and September.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months ago

can be through vaccination or a previous bout of infection. I guess in this specific case people will die. Because there is no vaccination the only way to develop herd immunity is for people to get infected, survive and are become immune

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months ago

The total population of Italy is 60.3 million of which 22% are 65+ years of age. By comparison, the Bahamas has a total population of 394,200 of which 8% are age 65 or older.

Italy has had 132,500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 thus far of which 13,800 have died. The infection rate and death rate for Italy so far is therefore 0.22% (132,500/60,300,000) and 10.4% (13,800/132,500), respectively.

Assuming the Bahamas and Italy have tested roughly the same percentage level of their respective total populations, and extrapolating the Italian statistics to date to the Bahamas, this would indicate at least 866 persons in the Bahamas are currently infected of which about 90 will die. BUT THIS IS VERY MISLEADING FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS.

We have a much more dense population (number of people per square mile) than Italy because most of our population resides on the relatively small island of New Providence. We also do not have and will never have anywhere near the healthcare resources that Italy has had available to it. The only 'good' news for the Bahamas is that the percentage of Italy's population age 65 and over is 2.75 times greater than that of the Bahamas. These three very significant factors alone will likely contribute to the infection and death rates for the Bahamas being about twice those of Italy.

In crunching the numbers, this means the Bahamas may currently have 1,734 infected persons (0.44% x 394,200), of which 360 of them (20.8% x 1,734) can be expected to die within the next 6 weeks or so. This picture could have been very different had Minnis acted much sooner to the writing that was was so clearly on the wall. But that's all water under the bridge or should I say lives to be lost now.

Looney tune mitigation measures that panic the public into crowded situations will of course make these numbers much worse.

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Bobsyeruncle 3 months ago

We have a much more dense population (number of people per square mile) than Italy because most of our population resides on the relatively small island of New Providence.

Not strictly true. Some Italian cities and towns have a higher population density. Also, in most of the old towns, people live in buildings much smaller than we have in The Bahamas, and often with 3 or 4 generations living in the same small house (probably why a disproportionate number of deaths in Italy have been elderly). Part of Italian culture is for kids, parents & grandparents to live under the same roof. I know this is also the case in some areas of The Bahamas, but it is to a much lesser extent, and the properties are spaced farther apart.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months ago

When I joined the back of the line yesterday I said great, now everybody infected.

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immigrant 3 months ago

And how are these "educated" politicians seeing what is going on and not realizing that they have truly created chaos and a breeding ground for further exposure! Sadly, the only result that should be expected of this idiocy is the massive uptick in infections that you speak of.

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Eve 3 months ago

Just came back from Super Value. I went at 7 am as I am a disabled senior. Lineups on both sides, people crowding, jostling. Not safe to be there so I left. No food. I don't know who thought this up but it was not a medical professional. These lockdowns only harm people. They do not protect us from the virus.

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themessenger 3 months ago

My wife has just returned from the food store having stood in line since 6am. She described the scene as chaotic and frightening as mob mentality is just a step away. She was also quite disturbed to see the sparsely stocked shelves, the lack of vegetables and meats except all but the most expensive cuts. Not looking to good moving forward.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months ago

wow. I can't believe they didn't restock. but why am I surprised. Fooled again. I told a colleague when the schedule came out that they must have consulted the food stores to make sure the shelves would be restocked. Apparently they didn't.

What is going on???? On this site a few regular people come up with all kinds of ideas and argue back and forth on the strengths or weaknesses of any number of initiatives. How can the 30 people we have leading the country not think of some of the simple and obvious pitfalls???

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ohdrap4 3 months ago

Perhaps some underlings present at these meetings do have ideas but, were they to speak up they end up being terminated.

Stupid bosses take it personally.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months ago

I'm going to read your message as posted without the "perhaps".

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The_Oracle 3 months ago

In the case of the food stores the Government has created a bigger problem than the original. Sudden and frequent changes of lockdowns, curfews, amendments (which few in government seem to read, even fewer of the public) and Exemptions (also called loopholes). This 5 day lockdown has caused a new run of panic shopping, so your seniors are gonna starve as they're completely intimidated by the "survival of the fittest" mentality gathered around your food store doors. The alphabet soup method isn't understood by the majority and especially not by the Food store Security Guards.

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K4C 3 months ago

I see people lined up, and most disturbing is most have shopping bags etc, that has to be a NO NO NO

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avidreader 3 months ago

You should see the lines at Harbour Bay outside Fresh Market and Lowe's Pharmacy. People in line talking about other shopping centres even more crowded.

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ohdrap4 3 months ago

Da party is down by the Super Value Winton. Bring your own food and drinks.

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joeblow 3 months ago

... I was surprised nobody had set up a grill yet!

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ThisIsOurs 3 months ago

I comin in my carnival outfit. covid don't stop no show...unless it does :-|

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months ago

I suspect by now that Minnis and Turnquest are much more fearful about the effects of the economic devastation in the months and years following the Red China Virus crisis rather than by the number of deaths that the virus itself will likely cause. The writing is already on the wall for all to see.

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stillwaters 3 months ago

Prime Minister must have thought people were serious when they said they were broke and hurting. He learned a lesson today.

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stillwaters 3 months ago

Bahamas Press has some shocking videos of how badly we Bahamians are carrying on.

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Honestman 3 months ago

The Government should stick with the 24 hour curfew but allow persons to visit the grocery store no more than once a day any day of the week. If that happens the panic will be removed and everyone can find a time to shop that suits them. What has been happening today in ludicrous. Those in charge have not been thinking this thing through.

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