By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
WHILE New Providence and Abaco have reduced the number of new cases, the island of Eleuthera has not had the same success, sparking more strict measures for the mainland, where 117 cases have been recorded.
In Eleuthera where residents have not followed COVID-19 preventative measures, a daily curfew and weekend lockdowns will be enforced. During the week, from Monday to Friday, a daily curfew will be in effect from 6pm to 5am on the island. Commercial activity will only continue during non-curfew hours.
“A Ministry of Health medical team travelled to Eleuthera last week to assess the COVID-19 situation on the island. As of Saturday, November 7, a total of 117 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been recorded on the island,” Dr Minnis said.
All districts in Eleuthera have recorded cases of COVID-19, with South Eleuthera having the greatest proportion of cases with 37.8 percent; followed by North Eleuthera with 29.7 percent.
Central Eleuthera has 24.4 percent of cases.
He continued: “Health officials have reported that a number of COVID-19 cases have been linked to bars. Additionally, the current increase in cases on Eleuthera has been linked to a funeral held two weeks ago. Health officials also reported that there appears to be minimal to no adherence to public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“I am advised that some concerned residents of Eleuthera have called for more restrictive measures to be put in place to arrest the spread of COVID-19.
“After its visit to and assessment of mainland Eleuthera, health officials have made a number of recommendations geared toward slowing and controlling the transmission of the virus on the island.
“The health team has recommended the closure of all bars. As a result of this recommendation, all bars and restaurants connected to bars are to be closed. Residents should not operate bars from their residences. All private and public social gatherings are prohibited,” the prime minister also said.
Additionally, indoor church services are not permitted and in-person classroom instruction of students is also prohibited. Both may occur by virtual means only.
Funerals can have a maximum of 10 people at the graveside, excluding the officiant and caretakers.
Weddings are to be a maximum of 10 people, excluding the officiant, but receptions and repasts are prohibited.
Health officials will continue to closely monitor the COVID- 19 situation on Eleuthera, Dr Minnis said.
To reduce the spread on Eleuthera, Dr Minnis urged residents there to go back to the measures that worked for them in the past, so that the island could reopen various areas as safely and as quickly as possible.
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Dr Minnis said, is on alert and in place to ensure that vessels do not flee Eleuthera in violation of the Emergency Powers Orders.
Additional police resources have been deployed to ensure enforcement of measures put in place to protect the residents of Eleuthera.