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Speeding Up: Record 65 New Cases Forces A Double Lockdown

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net 

THE Office of the Prime Minister announced that a lockdown will be implemented during the next two weekends as the country recorded a record 65 new COVID-19 cases yesterday.

Twenty-nine new cases were recorded on New Providence, 21 on Grand Bahama, eight on Guana Cay, six on Moore’s Island and one on Abaco.

Hospitalisation numbers have remained stable, with just one additional case added yesterday for a total of 12 hospitalised patients. However, infectious disease expert Dr Nikkiah Forbes warned that “there is no evidence to suggest” the country is experiencing a less severe strain of COVID-19 during what officials say is the second wave of the virus in the country.

“When you see numbers that are surging like this from a strictly scientific view it necessitates putting in place certain restrictions that will stop people from gathering together,” she said. “We continue to give guidance as it relates to the scientific facts. If we continue doing business as usual we can expect cases will increase unless factors contributing to the spread are taken away.”

She added: “It is very concerning that numbers are rising and continuing to do so and that we see there is involvement of other islands throughout the Bahamas. From what we know so far in the outbreak and global experience with COVID-19, there is a portion of people of about 20 percent that might have severe manifestations of the disease. Most people will be mild and there will be others with moderate manifestations that require some degree of supportive care and five percent will be critically ill. As an infectious disease doctor, we must be concerned when we see there is a large number of cases in the country and it behooves us to plan and expand capacity for hospitalization and treatments. We are concerned and we have made recommendations for our capacity to be expanded, as well as sending support where there are larger numbers of cases like in Grand Bahama. Do recall that in the first wave in the Bahamas we were able to flatten the curve but that took 15 weeks and that was in the face of very restrictive measures, including 24 hours curfews and restricted movements. To stop COVID-19 we have to stop coming in close contact with the virus as spread by infectious people.”

Dr Forbes made the comments when contacted by The Tribune hours after Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar eased fears about an impending two week lockdown.

“Right now, we were advised by the health professionals (that) we don’t need to go through a full lockdown,” Mr D’Aguilar told reporters outside cabinet yesterday. “So, for example, this weekend, we will have a lockdown. That’s going to start Friday at 7(pm) and go to Tuesday at 5(am) because of the public holiday. The weekend after that we’re going to have another lockdown - Saturday and Sunday but during the course of the week we’re going to allow commerce to continue and for people to as much as possible go about their ordinary lives but shutting down at 7pm as opposed to 10pm. So, these are right now as you look at the professionals (who) are advising us, that in the rest of the Bahamas, Grand Bahama notwithstanding, we can have that hybrid of lockdown and not lockdown and we’ll see how it develops but if cases continue to grow exponentially outside of Grand Bahama, then there’ll be another review at that time.”

The Office of the Prime Minister said the government will carefully review health data after the two weekend lockdown periods.

“Food stores, gas stations, pharmacies and water depots will be permitted to operate on Saturday, 8 August for the general public from 7am to 6pm,” the OPM said. “Food store workers required to restock after curfew from Monday to Friday and during Saturday over a lockdown weekend may seek permission from the commissioner of police to travel to and from their residence and workplace only. All individuals wishing to leave the country during the lockdown either by air or by boat may do so. Religious services may be held virtually. Live streaming is permitted between 7am and 1pm Saturday and Sunday from a religious facility, provided that no more than ten people participate from the facility. During a lockdown, exercise is permitted within the confines of an individual’s yard only. Construction is permitted on Sunday over a lockdown weekend.”

Although Grand Bahama is in the midst of a two-week lockdown, hardware stores will be open given the threat of a possible storm, Grand Bahama Minister Kwasi Thompson said.

“We know that in Grand Bahama, we are under a lockdown and only certain businesses were exempted and allowed to open, namely food stores, gas stations and pharmacies, but the prime minister has announced that he would allow hardware stores to be opened the same time as our grocery stores and our pharmacies,” Mr Thompson said in a statement. “We are also allowing residents to leave their premises to make the necessary hurricane preparations in the event the storm affects the Bahamas and Grand Bahama.”

Scotiabank, meanwhile, announced that two of its employees at its Freeport branch have tested positive for the COVID-19. “We have been working very closely with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to have all other staff members from that branch tested and in the interim they have been advised to self-isolate for 14 days,” the bank said in a statement. “Our top priority at this time is the health and safety of our employees and customers and we are proactively working with MOH officials to ensure that we adhere to all safety guidelines and best practices. Our Freeport Branch will remain closed until August 7, 2020 in line with the Government’s Emergency Powers (COVID 19 Pandemic) Order (No.3), 2020. We will ensure that the branch undergoes stringent deep cleaning and sanitization prior to reopening in order to safeguard the health and wellbeing of employees and customers.”

Comments

joeblow 6 days, 10 hours ago

REPOST:

.. lockdowns are a stalling tactic nothing more, it is not a cure! The compliant with lockdowns are still vulnerable if exposed to the virus. A good vaccine is the only cure and that is in the distant future.

The only sensible route is antibody testing using a high quality test. At least we can have some idea of who has been exposed and who has not. Those who have been exposed and are healthy can return to work as there is no concrete evidence of a person catching this virus twice. That will allow sectors of the economy to reopen. I said this three months ago, but lets continue to destroy the economy for a virus with a global mortality rate of 4%!! That makes more sense, right Minnis?

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tribanon 6 days, 9 hours ago

Be careful what you wish for. Places in the US that did as you propose we do, ended up with many very large Covid-19 parties being held in which the attendees very deliberately tried to get infected so that they could gain an advantage over others in the work place. And of course the attendees of such parties were mainly younger party-hardy persons with no major known underlying medical conditions, i.e. those most likely to become asymptomatic super spreaders.

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joeblow 6 days, 8 hours ago

... consider that people who have already had this infection and have antibodies to it derive no benefit from being locked down. Because we have not done widespread antibody testing, we do not know how many of them there are! It is wrong and unfair for those the government tested positive in March and April who have no symptoms to still be subjected to lockdowns as those who have not been infected. We need to distinguish the two groups, not so that people can party, but so that certain sectors can return to work without having to be to be subjected to these stupid lockdowns which are designed to protect the vulnerable while reducing the burden on health systems, not those who have already had the infection and recovered fully!

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tribanon 6 days, 9 hours ago

We have only Minnis and D'Aguilar to blame for the return of Covid-19 to shores and the misery we now face from the return of more lockdowns. Had these two most stupid fools not prematurely opened our borders to travellers from other countries, the US government never would have had an opportunity to insist our borders be kept open to travellers from the US.

Dumb D'Aguilar and even dumber Minnis failed to appreciate that there was no way the US government would permit The Bahamas to implement travel restrictions mainly targeted at Americans. These two buffoons should have known that once they foolishly re-opened the door to travellers from the US, the US government would not let them re-close it.

Minnis and D'Aguilar have sealed not only the dreadful fate of many vulnerable Bahamians who will eventullly succumb to the deadly Communist China Virus, but also many local businesses now doomed to permanently closing their doors leaving thousands and thousands of Bahamians without jobs. It didn't have to be this way. They have now effectively killed much of our non-tourist dependent local economy that might have survived had it not been for their most foolish decision to pre-maturely re-open our borders.

And to think these two clueless and directionless corrupt imbeciles shamelessly attempted to blame Bahamians for the horrific consequences of their very own most stupid and harmful decision. They didn't even have the decency to lower their heads in disgrace and resign!

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hrysippus 6 days, 9 hours ago

Hey, JoeBlown, How come you know s the world?o much more 3 months ago than most anyone else the world? You an expert obviously. but the lockdowns are not designed to be cure and no one has ever said they were. The lock downs are to slow the spread of the virus to manageable levels so that our health care systems are not over whelmed.

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tribanon 6 days, 9 hours ago

Flattening the curve and keeping it flat became an impossibility the very moment Minnis and D'Aguilar foolishly pre-maturely re-opened our borders to travellers. The damage has been done by the incredulous stupidity of Minnis and D'Aguilar and it will no longer be containable no matter what they do. The harm will be irreparable.

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joeblow 6 days, 8 hours ago

@hrysippus ... the reason you stated for lock downs is known by all including children. The question is whether or not there is a better way to do it. I look forward to your positive contributions on the matter!

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Dawes 6 days, 8 hours ago

This is not a lockdown as you can still go out and about Monday through friday during the day. This is just making sure the only thing you can do is work if you have a job. AS mentioned by jowblow lockdowns only stall the cases, and each time you reopen they will start up again. The idea behind the initial lockdown was to flatten the curve, but also give the Government time to strengthen the health facilities in this country. They did not do that side, so now every time there is a rise they will have to lockdown until a vaccine or admit that we have to live with this and enforce the rules on social distancing.

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tribanon 6 days, 8 hours ago

Sounds like you're endorsing Minnis be supreme ruler until a vaccine is developed. That's a most frightening thought given that we already have vaccines for the flu, but flu season nevertheless comes around each year. And in most years the the flu vaccine is found to provide at most 30 to 40% protection from the more virulent strains of constantly mutating flu viruses. And it's well known there's unlikely ever to be a vaccine for the common cold which, like Covid-19, falls within the family of corona viruses. Plenty of food for careful thought here.

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Dawes 6 days, 6 hours ago

Yet again what you think and what is actual are two completely different things.

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tribanon 6 days, 6 hours ago

Oh, that's right, I forgot....you didn't support Minnis in May 2017 like so many others and you would never support him. I'm so sorry this slipped my mind.

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Dawes 6 days, 5 hours ago

I never said that, but times change and so do people. Unless you think once you supported someone then that was all you were allowed to support. In which case Minnis wins in 2022. But if that was the case Christie would have won in 2017, but then Ingraham would have won in 2012. So guess like most things you should probably think first.

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tribanon 6 days, 5 hours ago

What's all of that got to do with your unwillingness to own up to your undying support of Minnis and the FNM no matter what? The readers of your posts (not just me) are quite capable of reading between the lines. You get the final word.

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Kalikgold 6 days, 8 hours ago

Without a vaccine, this will be the new normal moving forward. I do not think the lockdowns are necessary nor closing the borders, people have to be smarter with how they socialize. It is pretty obvious there's community spread, and its summer - imagine what will happen during the fall. It is estimated 50% of the population will contract this virus. Personally I won't be taking the vaccine, but those who are vulnerable should consider.

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tribanon 6 days, 8 hours ago

And most of us know why Bill Gates is hoping we all get a Covid-19 vaccination and why the infectious disease organisations he is associated with are pressuring governments to pass legislation that will force us to get vaccinated.

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proudloudandfnm 6 days, 6 hours ago

What a stupid comment. You been to the US lately? Seems their stupidity is contagious....

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tribanon 6 days, 5 hours ago

You clearly have not heard or read anything Bill Gate's has had to say over his life time to date, especially in his younger years, about the need for population control. The Continent of Africa has been the ideal setting for the conduct of many experiments given that most African nations have little in the way of enforced governmental regulations and many government officials who are all too easily willing to turn a blind eye in quid pro quo arrangements.

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TalRussell 6 days, 5 hours ago

The dangerously scariest is what The Colony's Central Authority knows but keeping hidden from reaching the PopoulacesOrdinary at large POAL?
Neither has there been a single of information released to POAL, if such cases have been confirmed by the privately owned and operated Doctors Hospital?
Nod Once for Yeah it won't take much overwhelm The Colony's singular fully operating public hospital, what then is the bible thumper*** health minister to do with the hundreds more new killer virus-positive cases, Twice for No?

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ThisIsOurs 6 days, 5 hours ago

repost:its CRAZY. It's like the cabinet meets to find new ways to add stress to regular Bahamians lives. We get up 5AM to get to work for a 9AM start. Rush through traffic dropping off kids and spouses. Now they tell us we have to rush through 5PM traffic too? and stress over whether we can get in by 7PM?. Then after that 120 hours of constant stress they lock you in for the weekend then let you out to rush back to work on Monday. What are they trying to do???

I could see if it were a full lockdown and no businesses were open. But all businesses are basically open which means a large percentage of persons are working.

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tribanon 6 days, 5 hours ago

They're very deliberately trying to drive you crazy while they go about cementing their full control over you.

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