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Editorial: Will The Nation Pass This Test?

The strongest action yet taken to curtail the spread of COVID-19 was announced yesterday by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis – the lockdown of Bimini for the rest of the month.

The island has been a hotspot for the virus, with two more cases yesterday bringing the total to 13 – and the lockdown is driven at least in part by islanders themselves calling for the move.

There are concerns of course about how it will operate – will people have enough food, will they have any medicine they are supposed to be taking, will it be properly monitored and so on.

Bimini residents themselves need no reminders of the danger of the virus – the first person to die from COVID-19 in The Bahamas was a Bimini woman.

They are also right in saying that beyond the lockdown itself there needs to be more widespread testing.

It is disconcerting to hear in response to concerns over food the comments of the island administrator, saying that “people have grown accustomed to having three meals a day, now we have to cut back and just ration”. This runs contrary to Dr Minnis’ promise that no Bahamian would go hungry.

With the lockdown starting on Monday, there are many questions for Bimini residents over how food will be supplied and what they need to do before the lockdown to get ready – particularly with Dr Minnis urging people to take measures now rather than waiting for the lockdown to start.

This is a moment the government must make sure they get right. This is a chance to stifle the virus in Bimini and bring to an end the community transmission.

The rush of people yesterday to receive $100 vouchers for food shows the need in the island – it was also an opportunity for the virus to transmit even further among those waiting.

Throughout this lockdown, residents need to be kept safe, kept fed and kept well. They need to be kept in touch with all that is being done to provide them with their needs.

And when it is over, thorough testing needs to be done to ensure the lockdown has succeeded in its goal.

More than anything, people need to make this lockdown count – or else it’s all for nothing.

Safety should be our guide

When the Prime Minister revised the emergency orders to explicitly state that webshops could not open under the curbside or delivery rules, was it all for safety reasons?

We certainly hope so – but there seemed something more to it than that. Whatever your feeling on webshops, they are a legitimate business these days, and if they can operate in a way that keeps employees and customers safe, there is a fair question to be asked about why they shouldn’t be open.

After all, given the economic crisis hitting us at present, those employees are at least still in jobs. Money in the pocket means money to pay for food, to pay for bills, to keep the economic wheel turning.

Indeed, looking back to when food stores were open but liquor stores were closed, other than the product being purchased was there any significant difference in the environment for shoppers in those two?

Measures should always be directed by medical need, of course, and so unnecessary activity is the key – people need food, they don’t need beer, but you hope that is the only guide and there is no streak of puritanism in what is being allowed to reopen.

Whatever the business or service – be it webshops or churches, or any one of a thousand other businesses – the crucial part is whether they can operate safely and minimise the risk of transmission. If they can do that, and show how they intend to do so, then being open for business keeps people in jobs. Safety should be our one and only guide in this.

Comments

mandela 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Yes! we will get through this and recover, only time and compliance will determine just how fast.

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birdiestrachan 1 month, 3 weeks ago

It is my view that Grown up adults should know what is good for them. They have frees choices given to them by their maker. No one has to gamble or drink. they are not children.

And it is a fact that Web shops or number houses have been around for many years The people who gamble. did so when it was illegal. No one decided that they will gamble because it is legal.

As for all the saints and bleeding hearts. who are against web shops exactly what is their problem I doubt they care about those who gamble. they are green with eveny of web shop owners.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 3 weeks ago

it's kind of amusing. The 2 Bimini cases were reported as if they just got infected yesterday and OMG we have to shut this thing down now or well have real problems! More than likely they've been walking around infected for weeks and were only discovered because someone bothered to test. like the stow away.

The moral out of those 2 cases isn't "lockdown", it's "test".

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tetelestai 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Couldn't the two work "hand in hand"?

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Jim 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Interesting that all the recent news articles on Bimini were pulled along with all the comments related to the mismanagement of government as they fail miserably to put any type of a lock down plan in place. Yes, Biminites will have to ration their food, the vouchers were cut to 80 from 100 dollars to assist a family of 8 to subsist for two weeks. This island will be shut down for 4 weeks, the gov just doesn't want the people to know yet. The treatment of the islanders is worse than a mild case of the diseaae.

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moncurcool 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Let us stop passing misinformation. The island will be shut down for 2 weeks. As the 2 weeks goes beyond May 31, the government has to go to Parliament to get the extra days needed in June to make the 2 weeks.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Surviving on one meal a day, and by meal I mean one slice of bread, is not a pleasant experience. In addition to stomach pain you're pretty weak. It's not a circumstance I'd casually put on anyone and say well you'll just have to suffer it so the rest of us are safe and I can go to the barber/nail salon and the movies in a month.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 3 weeks ago

forgot nausea and or acid reflux. sometimes we're so removed from these let those other people do it suggestions that we dont realize how uncomfortable it is. Unless we go back to a WWII ration scenario dont suggest that people should be ok rationing food.

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bahamasgal 1 month, 3 weeks ago

No other country in the world ordered a two to four week lockdown, except the Bahamas on Bimini. Test everyone on New Providence and we will see which island is the hot spot. This decision is simply disheartening. When you open the island up you will have to deal with a lot of mental and physical issues besides Covid, especially among the children and elderly. When you don’t have the answer, ask God and listen!

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moncurcool 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Guess you didn't hear about New Zealand then.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Lockdowns serve to give you time to do something. To plan a strategy. A lockdown on its own is a waste of time and potentially never-ending.

The general consensus has been that there's no single cure all and most definitely any plan that does not include wide spread testing is a failed plan.

You could literally shutdown for 3 months and wake up in August with 1000 newly infected. Why? policemen, prison officers, health care workers, the food banks, sanitation workers all the people who will not be subject to lockdown can carry the disease and be asymptomatic. And testing them at 10 in the morning doesn't mean they can't get infected at 3 in the afternoon. It's a complex issue that needs a well thought out strategy. Shutting people in is a step but it won't solve it.

If we go into winter flu season without a vaccine and no testing...well...hope for the best.

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joeblow 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Six weeks too late, but there are those who believe pointing out the failings of the government is nitpicking!

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Jim 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Vouchers/coupons, on North Bimini, are reduced to $40 now insteaad of the original $100.

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avidreader 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Unfortunately, the real problems will arise when the general public runs out of patience with the serious social restrictions being imposed upon them. When they are free to freely roam once again they will confront a changed reality in which an unemployment rate of 60 percent or higher will become the norm for an extended period. This is the unpleasant reality that is, more than likely, causing the greatest concern for our leaders.

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The_Oracle 1 month, 3 weeks ago

No Worries, the P.M. is currently announcing the Covid "Crabbing rules" I shyte you not. This nitpicking open this day not this day or yes for this business but no for that is Garbage. He is single handedly killing this country economically. Oh, and now we will have Travel permission cards? Can anyone say Soviet? Achtung! Your Papers Please! such an infantile approach in some ways, but so convoluted in others.

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