BRACE yourselves for another lockdown.
That’s the clear indication from Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis as he tries once again to thread the needle in tackling COVID-19.
It’s a long way from what Dr Minnis was saying on September 23, as he said that the second wave of the virus shows signs of ending. We weren’t convinced by that when he said it, we’re even less convinced now.
The daily dashboard has revealed dozens of new cases, day after day. In the past week alone, there were 550 new cases – and Dr Minnis said we are averaging a death every day.
On Friday, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Pearl McMillan, said that we have not yet seen a flattening of the curve – and yet still we plunged on with plans to reopen the economy.
New requirements are being brought in for tourists – as if anyone will want to come to a country with so many new cases each day. Even those measures continue to prove awkward to navigate – with one Canadian reader in today’s letters pointing out the impossibility of getting a COVID-19 test result, a health visa and booking accommodation in the few days in which the test result will be considered valid.
Schools are getting back underway too – and yet the teachers’ union has concerns about the virus plaguing schools, and at least 100 teachers are either in quarantine or have been in quarantine during the past month. The union also raised concerns about children being potentially exposed during examinations.
Dr Minnis added that one in 100 Bahamians on New Providence is now infected.
We’re in a mess.
While other islands have managed to lock this virus down, New Providence has not – and now we have to figure out what we’re going to do about it.
Until our infection rate is under control, we can forget about tourism restarting. Hotels aren’t going to take the risk of reopening and tourists aren’t going to visit. This is it. Do or, literally in this case, die.
So we should be prepared for whatever comes next. We hope the government has learned from when it imposed a surprise lockdown – that doesn’t need to happen again, people need time to prepare, to ensure they have enough food and water.
On Friday, Dr McMillan suggested that workplaces were the new hotspot – which might give some indication of the government’s thinking of what measures to take next.
Enforcement needs to be stepped up too – quite often there are few police about on the streets at night to monitor the curfew.
So what comes next? We can only wait and see. But we must stop this virus. Now.
Ignoring domestic violence
The story on page nine is a tragic one. It is also a far too common one.
In our Insight section, one woman recounts the story of the abusive relationship she was in.
Last week, we saw how far that domestic violence could go – with police suspecting a domestic dispute was involved in the events that led up to the double murder of a mother and daughter.
That mother had turned to the police for help before the crime occurred. They were out looking for the suspect at the time the mother and daughter were shot dead. No police car was parked outside her door to protect her.
At the start of the lockdowns, campaigners warned of the danger of increased domestic violence with people stuck at home together and victims having no way out.
As Prime Minister Dr Minnis spoke yesterday, he did not dwell on that topic, touching only briefly on the subject of mental health.
This is not a problem that is showing any signs of going away. Indeed, it seems woven into the fabric of our society.
Too often, a raised hand is seen as an acceptable solution. Too often, violence against our women is ignored. Bruises are paid little attention to, and people ask what did she do to deserve that as if the victim is the one to blame.
How long are we going to ignore the violence in our homes? Do the ones we say we love not deserve better?