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Updated: Pm Puts Nation In Lockdown, Confirmed Covid-19 Cases Now Stand At Four

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. (File photo)

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. (File photo)

FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: There has been another confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Bahamas, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to four.

POLICE PUBLIC NOTICE

Police wish to advise the general public that pursuant to the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (NO.1) Order 2020 that is in effect between 9am March, 20th to 9am March, 31st the Royal Bahamas Police Force has established the information hotline number 311 and email: covid19@rbpf.bs for official correspondence purposes.

All businesses, corporations and companies requiring permission to commute the streets of The Bahamas during the mandatory curfew, must contact the information hotline number 311 for approval.

All businesses, corporations, companies and hoteliers that are exempted from the emergency order and whose employees are required to traverse the streets of the Bahamas during the mandatory curfew should provide a listing of employees via email covid19@rbpf.bs. Security Companies requiring their employees to be out during this period, must submit a listing to the aforementioned email address. Once the listing is provided there will be no need to contact the 311 information hotline.

All hotel workers, security guards and other essential workers that are required to be on the streets of The Bahamas during the curfew hours, must adorn their uniforms and be in possession of a work identification card.

The Royal Bahamas Police Force COVID-19 Command Center is open twenty-four hours. You may reach the Command Center at 326-871, 326-6346, 356-9455 and/or 322-1051. You may also contact the Command Center via WhatsApp number 806-6852. The public is advised to call 911 or 919 for emergencies and NOT 311.

The Public is hereby further notified that the Character Reference, Firearms Licensing and Chassis Check Offices of the Royal Bahamas Police Force are closed.

Persons being electronically monitored are reminded that in addition to their bail conditions, they are also required to abide by the stipulations of the Emergency Order.

The Royal Bahamas Police Force seeks the public’s cooperation with these changes in order to minimize unnecessary confrontation and possible subsequent arrests and inconvenience as we seek to keep The Bahamas safe and prevent further spread of the COVIF-19 Virus.

The Royal Bahamas Police Force thanks you for your cooperation while this Order remains in effect.

FRIDAY UPDATE: In addition to yesterday’s announcement, the government has said the following businesses and undertakings are exempt:

• A business licensed to provide security guard

• A life and health insurance broker and agency from 9am to 5pm

• A wholesale bakery from 9am to 5pm

• A hardware store, for the purposes of taking purchase orders from licensed contractors and delivery to the job-site from 9am to 5pm

• A credit union from 9am to 5pm and

• Arawak Port Development Company, New Providence

provided that only essential workers necessary for the performance of the core functions are utilized while adhering to at all times, the social distancing requirements specified in the Order.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced that a national curfew will take effect today, mandating people remain in their homes until March 31 between 9pm and 5am and that business operations, with few exceptions, be suspended.

He said the emergency order, a radical restriction on personal and business freedoms that will upend life in The Bahamas, was needed to prevent the spread of the highly contagious novel coronavirus. The order takes effect at 9am today, and will expire at 9am March 31.

Dr Minnis said the curfew will end after consultation with medical professionals. He gave the order a day after presenting sweeping emergency COVID-19 powers in the House of Assembly.

Attorney General Carl Bethel, explaining what compliance with the curfew must entail, said: “Persons should be in their homes, if their homes are affixed to the soil in some matter, they may go in the immediate area in their yard but not if it’s an open yard over to someone else’s home and not to mingle with any occupant of any other house unless the yard is enclosed.”

The penalty for breaking the order is a fine not exceeding $10,000 upon summary conviction or imprisonment for not more than 18 months or both.

Establishments, institutions, businesses, offices, stores and organisations will have to suspend operations to the general public under the prime minister’s order. Exemptions include: wholesale or retail grocery stores and farmers markets; pharmacies, gas stations, laundromats and wash houses for hygienic purposes from 6am to 5pm; banks from 9am to 5pm; construction companies doing construction work from 6am to 7pm; drive through or take-away food vendors from 6am to 7.30pm, doctors offices, hospitals or medical facilities, medical supply establishments, hotels and airports.

All other establishments, institutions, businesses or offices inclusive of the public service —as may be authorised by the respective permanent secretary — shall work from home. The order states that these places “shall maintain only essential staff for the performance of core functions while adhering at all times to social distancing” of three to six feet.

Asked to clarify, Mr Bethel said: “Any business that caters to the general public, so the public can just walk in, is a business that if not specifically exempted, that business needs to work from home.”

People will be disallowed from entering private parties that include people from outside the immediate household of the house’s occupant and from attending meetings of fraternal societies, private or social clubs or civic associations.

People will also be barred from recreational or competitive sporting events, social events, banquets, receptions, weddings hosting ten or more people other than the bride, bridegroom, official witnesses and the marriage officer and funerals except ten members of the immediate family and at least one officiant and essential mortuary staff.

People will not be allowed to travel via public buses or mail boats, except for transport of freight or inter-island private commercial sea transport that is non-essential.

Essential officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Fire Services, Department of Correctional Services, National Insurance Board, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Environmental Health Services, the Department of Immigration, the Customs Department, waste and sanitation workers and staff within any hospital or health care or medical facility are not affected by the order.

Essential officers of water, electricity or other sectors encompassing the provision of electronic communications, including print and electronic media, are also not affected by the order.

Dr Minnis also said the government has recommended to Bahamas Power & Light that it defer payment of bills for an initial period of three months for residential customers who are diagnosed with the virus, are in quarantine or have been laid off.

The government will cover the cost of those bills, he said.

Dr Minnis said people who contravene the orders will be arrested. He said trucks and personnel working with gas stations have already been exempted from the curfew by the commissioner of police. Mr Bethel also told reporters that security firms and bakeries will be exempted from the orders.

The order does not prohibit individual attendance at a church for private individual prayer while maintaining social distancing.

Dr Minnis said the Doctors Hospital facility on Blake Road is being secured for COVID-19.

“There are some who may be concerned, what may happen if a patient is COVID positive and on dialysis, I can assure you that such facility has (a) dialysis machine in place should the need arise,” he said.

Dr Minnis said nurses who have completed their training and examinations will be appointed immediately to boost frontline staff. He also stressed there was adequate food, medical supplies and fuel in the country. He said ports remain open for freight and cargo and the country’s airports will remain open as well.

Comments

realitycheck242 8 months, 1 week ago

This is a minor curfew compared to the other curfews being implemented in cities and countries around the world. On March 31st after an evaluation by the medical professionals, If more clusters of the virus are found, an even more severe Curfew may be required. Critics of Minnis, no need to worry. He is only following the advise of the professional to give the Bahamas a chance at the best case scenario to flatten the curve before it peeks.

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tell_it_like_it_is 8 months, 1 week ago

How are businesses supposed to keep staff employed under these conditions. I predict the unemployment rate will be quite dismal going forward. Crime will also increase dramatically as a result. SMH
I think a balanced approach is needed.

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stillwaters 8 months, 1 week ago

Define your meaning of a balanced approach please. I'd just like to hear another view

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ThisIsOurs 8 months, 1 week ago

I was surprised to hear that crime has already increased. Danes said the police were ready but nobody told the public that the number of shop break ins had spiked. ( as stated in today's tribune)

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joeblow 8 months, 1 week ago

So you can unknowingly share the virus during the day, but not at night?

The government is taking the same approach to this virus as they have with immigration over the years a half hearted one that appears firm enough to look like they are doing something, but not firm enough to actually address the problem properly!

They still have not explained why the airport and harbor are not closed! It is important to ensure that we do not continue to import the virus while waiting for it to burn out here!

If we have to suffer the inconvenience of restricted movement then a sensible all encompassing plan should be put forth to minimize spread of the virus and that includes closing the airport to flights from Canada, the UK, and states in the US where the virus is!!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 8 months, 1 week ago

Much too little, much too late, which is par for the course with Minnis and entirely consistent with his well established mantra of "Que Sera Sera".

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John 8 months, 1 week ago

The US is urging all residents to suspend foreign travel and those outside the country to return home as cases in some parts of the country double overnight. FEMA has now taken control of the Corona battle as beds and medical staff becomes short. Hopefully, the precautionary efforts taken here will stem the increase in Corona numbers and the government should consider restricting international travel or self quarantining residents that return.

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John 8 months, 1 week ago

China says its number of new cases among locals is now zero and is being maintained, but it continues to have residents returning from abroad that test positive for the virus and right now this is their biggest challenge in the battle against the virus. SO basically China is saying even if you purge your country f the virus and you continue to allow infected people in, your battle will be an ongoing one. Everyone entering China will be screened and quarantined when the test is positive.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 8 months, 1 week ago

Which China are you referring to here? The ruthless lying Xi Jinping led Communist Red China which is well known for its horrible abuse of human rights or the real China (a/k/a Taiwan) which is a thriving democracy and highly respectful of human rights?

Keep in mind that Red China and not the real China (Taiwan) is responsible for the creation of the so called "China Virus" that has gone pandemic.

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truetruebahamian 8 months, 1 week ago

Get a grip! And the original name of Taiwan is Formosa..

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lucaya 8 months, 1 week ago

At this point Communist China is very difficult to be trusted,let's here facts from reputable outside sources.

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TalRussell 8 months, 1 week ago

A timeline that lead up to prime minister putting Colony under lockdown?
By January 11, 2020 China had already announced its first death from the virus, a 61-year-old man who had purchased goods from the seafood market.
On January 22, 2020 the Colony's prime minister staged town hall to launch the red shirts party’s 2022 election campaign.
Over a month later the Colony's prime minister, addressed the Colony on national television - yet he never once expressed concerns about the virus which by then had become well known across the Globe.
The Colony has a resident Ambassador for the Peoples's Republic China - stationed right here in Colony.

  • PRIME MINISTER MINNIS 1ST NATIONAL REPORT FOR 2020 -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeuVP...">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeuVP...

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John 8 months, 1 week ago

Why are webshops still open and crowded

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Clamshell 8 months, 1 week ago

Now that is one d*mned good question. Thank you.

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sheeprunner12 8 months, 1 week ago

Will the PM close them down???? ……… We will then see who run things.

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TalRussell 8 months, 1 week ago

Wasn't Numbers Houses forced by post Hurricane Dorian to cease operations in the Abaco's?

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bogart 8 months, 1 week ago

They already operate online wid Web Shops with huge extras on winnings via online to their accounts as moving to online. Many times now employees are not being all other business as many believe but they are online dealing with Web Shops.

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bogart 8 months, 1 week ago

On more recent is recent tribune article as of Friday, Match 6, 2020. "Us: Bahamas Regulators Are In Denial Over Gambling Risks"

google tribune242 us bahamas regulators are in denial over gambling risks

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DDK 8 months, 1 week ago

Dey be open again, Comrade . Can't keep da bad men down 🤣

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longgone 8 months, 1 week ago

Anyone who really thinks that the lockdown will only be for 11 days is deluding themselves--In the States people are resigned to be self-quarantined until July!!

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TalRussell 8 months, 1 week ago

Good excuse comrade prime minister to duck out on having to answer questions on floor House of Assembly, by getting the Speaker to suspend the House? Will Imperialists red shirts cabinet, still meet as a group? Will the prime minister continue holding [town hall meetings] pre-general election campaign rallies?

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sheeprunner12 8 months, 1 week ago

House of Assembly needs to meet on Zoom …… like the students

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TalRussell 8 months, 1 week ago

Noticeably absent from prime minister's ordering the [imprisonment] lock-down of an entire Colony's PopoulacesOrdinary, under his orders must stay home put between curfew hours 9pm - 5am - was the cancellation of the Imperialists red shirts general election campaign. Nod once for yeah, Twice for no?

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The_Oracle 8 months, 1 week ago

Folks, we have one Prime minister, who is a Doctor. Perhaps he knows and realizes that if we have an outbreak in the Bahamas, we are done. Finished. Better to take a few weeks of economic pain and personal inconvenience TOGETHER than have funerals 7 days a week for months with a more permanent economic blow. The idiocy I see on social media is mind blowing. Mass Testing Bahamians? WITH what KITS? Get with the program as it is, do your best. Stop perpetuating fake news and rumors. Watch some videos from Italy. Not pretty at all. Overwhelmed. Meanwhile the more exemptions issued the less teeth the effort has. One last point, Perhaps if the Government actually fines and or imprisons a few for non compliance perhaps we will all take this for the serious situation it is? I'd be willing to bet compliance will tighten right up!

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bogart 8 months, 1 week ago

Given all the gloom and doom, critisms, accusations ...coming by actions or inactions of the Govt, of many others...I also know there will be the coming ...levity...yes levity .....like the humerous fella from Labour who will tell nation according to his records the ...uneployment rate will be ....low figure, which leaves everyone schatching heads...like the next one who tells be end to electrical load shedding cutting on power but days later power cuts off, end result other reason no power....One main solution current crisis is putting foot forward, not backwards or sideways...and not even a shuffle of feet which should be kept for junkanoo. Best foot forward all together.

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TalRussell 8 months, 1 week ago

Clothing mogul Peter Nygard was born on opposite side of the tracks which separated the rich and poor. Comrade Peter's journey was long, skillfully hard worked journey to extreme wealth - then he decided involve in Colony known for its piracy culture brand local politics - which began his socialising with its politicians. Lesson learned. Our culture's politicians can be strange and dangerous waters for billionaires charter course safely around we many Cay's! Nod once for yeah, Twice for no?

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