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Paying A Price For Dicing With Covid: 48 Hours To Agree New Tactic To Halt New Providence/Abaco Surge

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis speaks on Sunday.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis speaks on Sunday.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net 

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday warned that one out of every 100 New Providence residents is infected with COVID-19 – and having had talks with international health experts, the government would talk to the business community over the next two days on its next move.

Dr Minnis’ comments came during a national address yesterday, where he said the country was averaging a death a day from COVID-19 and that current restrictive measures in place “are not achieving the desired results” for certain communities.

To help with charting the country’s way forward from the crisis, Dr Minnis said he had met the Pan-American Health Organization and World Health Organization representative to The Bahamas, Dr Esther de Gourville, and that talks would now begin with members from the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation and the National COVID-19 Coordinating Committee on “specific strategies and the way forward”.

A PAHO/WHO representative will also brief Cabinet on Tuesday, he said, adding that the leader of the opposition and his team have also been invited to that meeting.

At the end of the meetings, Dr Minnis said he will subsequently update the nation on the recommendations made by international health experts, specifically as it relates for New Providence and Abaco – where cases continue to climb.

On Friday, health officials reported that one out of every 100 New Providence residents has been infected with the virus, with data suggesting that cases on the island could continue to climb in the days ahead.

Officials also acknowledged the confirmed cases on Abaco to be concerning.

The situation, Dr Minnis said, has placed a significant strain on the country’s healthcare system. He again urged Bahamians to not let their guards down after hitting out at reported large social gatherings with “large Junkanoo rush outs”.

Dr Minnis said only in unity can the nation defeat the COVID-19 threat, warning that “we must recommit on New Providence to full compliance with the rules.”

“Our best and most effective measure to control the spread of COVID-19 is our individual and collective behaviour and responsibility. National unity and the spirit of ‘we’ are essential in combating COVID-19,” he said. “But when we do not act together, this deadly virus sees an opportunity to exploit us and do damage to our individual and common good.

“When you fail to wear a mask or abide by other health measures, the virus may seize on this opportunity to harm you and through you, do harm to others.”

As a part of his government’s efforts to reduce further community transmission, Dr Minnis outlined new guidelines for laboratories conducting COVID-19 tests.

He said all will now be required to be registered with the Ministry of Health and adhere to the following guidelines.

“Each laboratory will be required to meet testing standards established by the Ministry of Health,” he said. “Laboratories will also be subject to periodic cross-referencing to ensure quality control. Laboratories will be prohibited from administering the COVID 19 RT PCR test unless the patient provides all identifying particulars required by the case identification form.

“Laboratories will now be required to turn around test results within a maximum of 48 hours.”

He also said the measures will also help produce a quicker turnaround time for test results.

Recognising that thousands continue to be affected by the pandemic, Dr Minnis said the government has decided to allocate $45 million for the extension of its assistance programmes to December to further help those most vulnerable.

This applies to its unemployment benefit programme and national food assistance initiative, the latter of which officials had previously said will end in October.

However, yesterday, the prime minister said: “Ten million dollars have been allocated for a second phase of the national food programme to the end of December 2020. This is a government sponsored programme to ensure that Bahamians receive food assistance in a timely and responsible manner.”

Yesterday, Dr Minnis also sought to explain the rationale behind the government’s decision to relax quarantine protocols for visitors and residents travelling to the country come November, saying officials “recognise that a balance must be found.”

“No protocol is perfect, and so we recognise that a balance must be found,” he added.

“The solution must work for everyone entering The Bahamas. By introducing rapid antigen tests upon arrival, and then again 96 hours into a traveller’s stay, we can more closely monitor and respond to any cases of the virus and act swiftly to contain its spread.”

In view of the new protocols, Dr Minnis said tourism officials are also in discussions with various insurance companies for the implementation of a traveller’s COVID-19 insurance to ensure that visitors “will be cared for appropriately and dispatched out of the country if necessary.”

He continued: “This means we can more confidently allow all visitors to move with less restrictions through the destination. With this approach, we can offer visitors a bit more true Bahamian experience they know and love, albeit while wearing a mask in public places and abiding by COVID-19 measures.”

He said the move will also allow workers in the industry to return to work faster, as many have suffered “greatly.”

Comments

ohdrap4 3 weeks, 4 days ago

I hope the business community makes some impression on them.

Another day of panic at the foodstore.

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ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 4 days ago

"At the end of the meetings, Dr Minnis said he will subsequently update the nation on the recommendations made by international health experts"

dr Minnis don't listen to nobody. Loretta and the 7 knew it in 2017. now the whole nation knows it. Agree with @ohdrap4...#morepanic

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ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 4 days ago

"“Each laboratory will be required to meet testing standards established by the Ministry of Health,"

REPOST: "I almost can't believe this. Weeks ago I commented that I couldn't figure out why the data was so bad. I recall commenting that I'm assuming that the govt has to give authorization to labs to carry out testing given the national security concerns associated with possibly mishandling positive cases. This did not imply that a lab coukd not make a mistake, but more so that they'd been given guidance to prevent or minimize mistakes.

And today the PM announced they're establishing rules for test labs????? After 96 people have died? ....."

Who is doing the thinking?

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ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 4 days ago

the flamingo kinda purpley... the flags are being hoisted upside down again

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TigerB 3 weeks, 4 days ago

He said Nassau and Abaco, no matter what we say, or who we blame, at the end of the day it's still Nassau and Abaco. IF you live on one of those islands its time to suck it up. those islands holding the country back. We here in Grand Bahama and Bimini had to suck it up... we pass our test, it wasn't easy, but we didn't throw rock at the police car and sit in a group protesting, we stayed home. Prayes will not solve it, rather discipline.

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hj 3 weeks, 4 days ago

"Full compliance with the rules". I agree. Does this also include law enforcement personell that had a large funeral gathering without permition? I understand that a cabinet member was also there. But then again we know by now that your only answer to everything is lockdowns for the rest of the population. Since March what you have accomplished is surge of the cases and destruction of the economy. Good job

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proudloudandfnm 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Not the US just the moron president.

Stop with the stupid conspiracy theories.

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tribanon 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Take your head out of the sand.

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benniesun 3 weeks, 4 days ago

As a start do your research to find out which bankers funded the Russian and Chinese communist movements, and where their Headquarters are located. The NAACP was started by and funded (controlled) by none blacks. Same technique is still in use today. The boob tube has cast its spell and we are now overwhelmed with malfunctioning minds.

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proudloudandfnm 3 weeks, 4 days ago

What is it with you righties and these idiot conspiracy theories????

Is there one rightie out there with an actual functioning brain????

Sheesh... The right gets dumber every year. How is that even possible????

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benniesun 3 weeks, 4 days ago

From the first figures (put out back in March) the initial rate of infection should have resulted in everyone in the Bahamas getting the virus within about three months. Over six months has passed and one report says only one in one hundred of us has been infected - that is only 1% of the population in over six months. So how many years is it going to take for the rest of us to get it and develop herd immunity. But wait! Doesn't the virus mutate every three to six months or so? Can the present test detect those new mutations?

This is madness. I suggest that the government throws one big national party where we all mingle together for a few days, so we all get the virus asap. If the Supreme Being has fated that me and mine to die from it, then mourn us and move on - and do the same for others. The Bahamas will not survive these lock downs, and none of us will leave this realm alive - we are all fated to die, so get over the death hangup. It is no longer about us, but about those who will survive and be here after we are gone.

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tribanon 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Bill Gates isn't physically strong in the Darwinism sense, but he sure has a lot of moola to compensate for his weakness. He and others like him measure their strength in terms of their wealth and ability to control the weaker population around the world.

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JokeyJack 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Unfortunately, the vast majority do not have the intelligence to see the big picture in that way. The statistic near the top of this article saying that about one person per day is dying from the virus currently - means that 365 people will die in a whole year. Wow. Should we kill the remaining 349,635 people by starvation in order to save that 365?

Don't worry too much. I believe that once the U.S. election results are finalized, the virus will magically disappear (regardless of who wins). The new test kits will say so, and people will start dying this winter of pneumonia like they do every year, instead of Covid. Between 40,000 to 70,000 die each year of pneumonia in the USA, but we never wore masks before. Uhm. And Halloween coming up too.

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proudloudandfnm 3 weeks, 4 days ago

In Europe too? And Asia? South America? Central America?

Dumb conspiracy theory. Really dumb...

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JokeyJack 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Yes. It will disappear everywhere once election results are finalized (not sure when that will be, could be December, could be February).

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tribanon 3 weeks, 4 days ago

This moron (Minnis) expects the many Bahamians who cannot even afford to buy food to somehow be able to buy decent quality disposable masks and hand sanitizers. And forget cloth masks because many Bahamians have no means of keeping them clean. Yep, Minnis remains forever as stupid as stupid does get!

The writing is on the wall that Minnis and D'Aguilar plan on once again locking down Bahamians in their homes, or, if they are disobedient, in a cell at Fox Hill Prison so that tourists might be less afraid of getting the deadly China Virus while visiting New Providence and sunning on our beaches.

And just think, Minnis said tourism officials are also in discussions with various insurance companies for the implementation of a traveller’s COVID-19 insurance to ensure that visitors “will be cared for appropriately and dispatched out of the country if necessary.” Well, what some decent affordable health insurance for the vast majority of us Bahamians!!!!

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JokeyJack 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Yoos a Bahamian eh? Sorry to hear that. Ink ya fingah then keep ya mouth shut for 5 years, that's the system.

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joeblow 3 weeks, 4 days ago

The lack of common sense Minnis displays is far worse than the effects of COVID-19! We need a change!

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John 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Are the Numbers on Nee Providence not flattening or they event/incident sensitive. Meaning if you look at the daily curve fir New Providence there is some flattening out, but apparently when there’s some event , like a full military funeral or a funeral fir one in the Saxons Junkanoo Family. Or an event to welcome back the leader of the opposition ( that ends in a Junkanoo rush out, these cause daily spikes on the curve and make it appear to not be flattening. The most recent event is the back to school shopping. Whilst most stores in the mall enforced safety distancing protocols, the hall of the mall became crowded, and so that along with students taking national exams and others returning to physical classes will have effect on the numbers over the next two weeks.

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John 3 weeks, 4 days ago

One Number Minnis should pay particular attention to is the number of people lined up to the liquor stores every day. From they open until they close. Are the stress of the Corona pandemic and the corresponding lockdowns and job losses leading people to alcoholism?

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ColumbusPillow 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Hm, according to the PM there is one death per day due to the virus+other causes such as diabetes,etc THAT IS 365 DEATHS IN ONE YEAR! Last year 2500 Bahamians died.. THATS 7 x GREATER. That's good news for those with hysteria. Now lets find out the percentage of false positives with this very very sensitive PCR testing

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rosiepi 3 weeks, 4 days ago

The relaxing of protocols likely reflects the start of cruise ship sailings on November 1st.

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professionalbahamian 3 weeks, 4 days ago

The numbers of infected are far higher than reported, the narrative of an October wave is world wide and not completely substantiated as it is deduced from elevated testing volumes. Absolutely no action by the government will stop COVID in Nassau at this point - Government restrictions of any type will further kill the economy and people as a result- let the economy run if there is anything left of it! And free the people of this control crap - open the beaches! Instant testing, open tourism entirely! Seriously!.

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