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‘Risk we are opening our doors to a third wave’

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

WITH major resorts set to open by mid-December, consultant physicians are concerned the country could be on the brink of a third COVID-19 wave.

Dr Sabriquet Pinder-Butler, Consultant Physicians Staff Association president, told The Tribune Sunday that tourism’s restart poses a concern considering the resurgence of cases in the United States and Europe.

Paradise Island resort Atlantis plans to open next week, while Baha Mar at Cable Beach is eyeing a December 17 opening.

“The concern would be there because a lot of trends that have occurred in our country have been similar to what we’ve seen in states in the United States as well as Europe,” Dr Pinder Butler said.

“We know that we are set to open and have had travel and will have more travel and more persons to come in to allow the tourism industry to have some kind of kickstart and this will also mean that our residents will interact more amongst themselves and with guests.

“So, when we look to what’s happening in the US where there is a resurgence of COVID cases occurring, some countries have had to again reinstitute lockdowns and other measures to try to safeguard themselves. Their people are certainly top priority perhaps the most important priority from a public health perspective and from a health perspective and so this is something that is concerning us.

“Christmas time is approaching and we want people to be mindful of the things that have helped us thus far in terms of mask wearing, moving away from the gatherings and that sort of thing.”

She continued: “We certainly don’t want to have a worst-case scenario in the county with COVID-19. We know how that has strained our healthcare system and we don’t want to do more harm than good.”

But one thing is certain, Bahamians cannot let their guards down, she said.

“We encourage everyone to just continue with what they’ve been doing that will also help as we continue with this battle.

“Other things that would be lofty goals, but would help further strengthening of the healthcare system. With a potential third wave we have to make sure that we have adequate hospital beds and healthcare staff to ensure all persons who may be in need of assistance.”

Her concern comes as confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country continue to remain low. As of Saturday, the Ministry of Health said there were 14 new COVID-19 cases – nine in New Providence and five in Grand Bahama.

Seven new cases were recorded on Friday—three in Grand Bahama and four in Eleuthera. On Thursday, health officials recorded 14 cases.

The country’s death count stands at 163 and there have been 7,517 official cases confirmed.

Health Minister Renward Wells declared in the House of Assembly last week that Bahamians are flattening the COVID-19 epidemic curve.

He noted that case numbers were dwindling and there have been no new recorded deaths for nearly two weeks.

His comments came during debate in the House of Assembly on extending the Governor General’s emergency proclamation. The government has extended the state of emergency to January 31.

“While it is true that the entire Bahamas only experienced one complete lockdown in April, 2020, other islands such as Grand Bahama and Bimini, experienced lockdowns for some two weeks to control the spread of the virus on these islands,” he said. “Controlled weekday and 24-hour weekend curfews have been most effective on the islands of Eleuthera, Exuma, Abaco and New Providence to bring the overall transmission down, ‘flatten the curve,’ reduce infections and avoid overwhelming our treasured health care system.”

Comments

DWW 1 year, 8 months ago

If it were me id say open up to everywhere except America right now. the doctors are well fed and paid through a pandemic and rightly so, but they should not forget about those who havent had a paycheck in 9 months. wear your N95 mask and lets all carry on smartly.

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DWW 1 year, 8 months ago

and there has only been one wave in the bahamas, why talk about a third?

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ohdrap4 1 year, 8 months ago

I will listen to her when all civil servants take a paycut to fund the food line.

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