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Here We Go Again: Pm Piles On The Pain In Desperate Bid To Halt Runaway Virus

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. (File photo)

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. (File photo)

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

RESIDENTS in New Providence and Abaco will be placed under strict movement restrictions, featuring a 7pm daily curfew and full weekend lockdowns until the COVID-19 situation sees improvement, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, pictured, announced yesterday.

The 7pm curfew will begin tomorrow and last throughout the holiday weekend, ending Tuesday at 5am.

Following this, every weekend both islands will go into full lockdown mode – Fridays at 7pm to Mondays 5am –- and every day the curfew will be 7pm instead of the 10pm curfew that has been in effect for several weeks.

As a part of government’s enforcement efforts, Dr Minnis said all fines for breaching health protocols, except for the mask violations, will be doubled.

He said to encourage compliance with public health protection measures, there will be an amendment to the Emergency Powers Order that causes businesses to be closed for 14 days on their second violation of the protocols.

Dr Minnis explained that a business will be fined for the first violation, but on a second offence the business would be ordered shut.

During these weekend 24-hour lockdowns, only essential services, including the uniformed branches, customs and immigration departments, public health services, sanitation services and essential utility services will be permitted to operate.

No social gatherings will be allowed, Dr Minnis said, adding this will be strictly enforced in order to reduce and control the spread of COVID-19. There is now a confidential hotline for citizens to report people hosting social gatherings. The hotline number is 702-9967 through -.

Speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday, the prime minister said there are urgent challenges on both islands. Despite this, he said the opening date for the tourism sector remains set at November 1, adding that officials have set specific goals for the next 14 days.

“We face urgent challenges here on New Providence and Abaco,” Dr Minnis said.

He spoke as many of his Cabinet ministers were absent from the sitting because they are in quarantine after coming into contact with Environment Minister Romauld Ferreira who tested positive for the disease this week.

“The persistently high case numbers – particularly on New Providence – have placed immense strain on our healthcare system and our medical professionals.

“Our hospitals are full. Medical teams have been pushed to their capacity. If there is further deterioration in the COVID-19 situation on our most populated island, we risk a collapse of the healthcare system.

“My government uses science and data and listens carefully to the recommendations of experts to guide our policies. We also consult with various stakeholders to get their feedback and to discuss the policies we are considering.

“This is the worst crisis The Bahamas has faced in its modern history. We are living in an unprecedented global emergency. Each day is an emergency and we have to constantly make adjustments, day in and day out, sometimes, on an hourly basis. This is going to be our reality for some time.

“Anyone who tells you otherwise does not understand this moment in history.”

He continued: “Today, the current situation in New Providence and Abaco requires new restrictions in order to reduce infections and, most importantly, to save lives. Sadly, we are now averaging one death per day.

“In deciding on these restrictions, we have balanced the need of our people to make a living, along with the serious public health concerns of the moment. Nobody likes or wants complete shutdowns or full restrictions.

“We seek to implement what is reasonable and necessary for a period of time in order to reduce sickness and death. When these goals are achieved and cases are reduced, we remove these measures so that people may get back to a greater level of normalcy in their lives and livelihoods.

“Health officials are setting a goal with targets and timelines that would measure the impact of the restrictive measures and the likely success of mitigating the transmission of COVID-19 in New Providence and Abaco over the next 14 days,” Dr Minnis also told Parliament.

“The ultimate measure of success would mean that the number of new cases is no longer increasing, hospitalisations are decreasing, a reduction in the need for ICU care and a decrease in the number of COVID-19 related deaths.

“The success of these measures will inform whether more restrictive measures are needed or if measures can be relaxed. The measures I have outlined have no effect on air travel. There has been no change to the current travel regime.

“The opening of the international tourism sector remains set for November 1, 2020.”

Further restrictions mean the only other movement during weekend lockdowns beside essential services, will be for one hour of worship services on Saturdays and Sundays between the hours of 7am and 1pm.

Food stores, pharmacies, gas stations, construction sites or laundromats are not permitted to operate during the full 24-hour weekend curfews.

Dr Minnis said food distribution by the National Food Distribution Task Force will be tailored to take place during weekdays.

Beaches and parks in Abaco and New Providence will also be closed beginning Friday and only virtual learning is permitted for students on both islands.

Sea and airports will continue to operate and there will be no interruption to flights.

Additionally, during the week, religious services may continue based on the Bahamas Christian Council guidelines approved by the Ministry of Health.

Churches may also open for individual/private prayer during the week. However, other restrictions regarding funerals and weddings will be enforced.

Dr Minnis said health officials have recommended reverting to previous protocols.

As such, in addition to the officiant and the undertakers, 10 people will be permitted to attend a funeral, which may now only take place at the graveside. Wakes and repasts will not be permitted.

As far as weddings are concerned only ten people will be permitted at a wedding, while wedding receptions will not be permitted.

Exercise is permitted in a person’s neighbourhood Monday to Friday, between 5am and 7pm, but exercise on the weekend may take place only within a person’s yard.

Gyms will once again be closed.

Consistent with the international guests using these facilities, Bahamians and residents seeking to book at hotels in New Providence and Abaco will be required to have negative COVID-19 RT PCR tests.

And there will be no indoor or outdoor dining in New Providence and Abaco for now.

Where take away services are being provided, enforcement monitors will ensure that there is no congregating either indoors or outdoors by patrons. However, hotels will be allowed to offer outdoor dining to guests.

As it pertains to retail sales, this will only be allowed by kerbside except for food stores. For all other retail, customers are not permitted to enter stores, while gas stations are not permitted to provide in-store services.

As he closed his address to the House of Assembly, the prime minister made an appeal to social media influencers to rally support of the COVID-19 protocols.

“Let me close by making a strong appeal to social media influencers, to social media gurus, to do all you can to encourage adherence to the proper health guidelines and preventative measures and to encourage the spirit of ‘we are in this fight together’.

“I say to the social media gurus and those who live on social media, spread the message of unity. Create songs of unity, song of encouragement, song of remembrance that there should be no gathering.

“I say to the young entrepreneurs out there (that) this is your opportunity to do your part. Create t-shirts with slogans and messages. Let’s fight COVID together.

“United against COVID and every Friday I encourage all Bahamians throughout the length and breadth of the country to wear t-shirts with the slogan ‘anti-COVID’, or ‘let’s fight COVID’.

“Let’s declare Fridays anti-COVID t-shirt day. The message must be loud and clear so that everyone understands that we are at war. The world is at war.

“We are all at war against COVID, a virus that we cannot see and a virus that does grave danger and causes death,” Dr Minnis said.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 1 day ago

this nonsensical 7PM again. Exactly when are persons who work 9-5 supposed to get anything done. Does noone remember the traffic jams as people rushed to get home before 7? Nobody? And more businesses are open now.

"these weekend 24-hour lockdowns, only essential services, including the uniformed branches, customs and immigration departments, public health services, sanitation services and essential utility services will be permitted to operate."

remember it was the essential services that spread the post july-1 infections.

It's like we can't learn

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Porcupine 3 weeks, 1 day ago

But people from Nassau can still fly to the Family Islands. And, thank god that Covid only works on weekends. I think all the people of The Bahamas firstly want consistency and sensibility. These are lacking, and have been lacking in the government's response. What is abundantly clear however, is that The Bahamas is failing in both the government response, as well as, the intelligent and compassionate response required of the entire population. Point at whoever you choose, but this is a failure. And yes, this is a result of a failed education, schools, churches, and homes alike.

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themessenger 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Yes, how clever of them to have the airport open all weekend fully staffed with customs, immigration, police, security, and essential baggage handlers to accommodate all those traveling Nassuvians who are locked down and all those family islanders who will be flocking to Nassau's COVID environment.

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whogothere 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Two weeks ago, it was "Abaco - nobody cares if you go to beach after 10pm". Now it's double fines if breach health protocols...This is just a disgusting abuse of power. And ignores his past failures and reinvents them as success... Ya lockdowns don't work!! And treating this country like your personal emotional yo-yo is un becoming as our a leader. Minnis if you're following the science then please share the science of banning open access to beaches, forcing people to stay inside and punitively coercing people's freedoms. Show us the science behind cloth mask actually working for a airborne virus. Explain to us how allowing people to go to air-conditioned churches to sing makes any sense when that is precisely the activity linked to super spreading events. Dude you are soooooo making this up as you go along, which I (to be fair) get, but please at least get the fundamentals right... Low risk of transmission from surfaces, low risk from outdoor activities, high risk form air-conditioned indoor group activities, low risk to working age population, low risk to children, High Risk to persons of 65 and up or with serious co-morbidities... Your response to this go to church and then everybody pile into the house with Grandma! Jeez dude... . . Fun fact: Around 2500 people die in the bahamas every year, thats around 200 per month, around 7 per day..Most of them from exactly the same things that put them at risk from COVID19...

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Proguing 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Please someone pass this on to the government:

South African Data Analysts: Lockdown Will Lead to 29 Times More Deaths Than Coronavirus:

https://summit.news/2020/05/05/south-...">https://summit.news/2020/05/05/south-...

Leaked Study From Inside German Government Warns Lockdown Could Kill More People Than Coronavirus:

https://summit.news/2020/05/12/leaked...">https://summit.news/2020/05/12/leaked...

Study: Lockdown “Will Destroy at Least Seven Times More Years of Human Life” Than it Saves:

https://summit.news/2020/05/26/study-...">https://summit.news/2020/05/26/study-...

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trueBahamian 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Be careful with "studies". You can present a study that says that typing your opinion here can have a negative impact on your life. People have presented studies that made some outrageous points in the past. Also, there would be studies that show a contradictory position.

When reading studies try to follow if it makes sense logically. This last one you referenced here, how do they confirm that a lockdown today will destroy years of a person's life. In order to actually determine future impact, you check persons years later not at the instant of the event.

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bahamianson 3 weeks, 1 day ago

I agree with you True Bahamian, you can find a study to prove that the earth is square if you look hard enough. The last people we should be relying on are the " Experts". They have gotten it wrong every week. All we should say at this point is , " This is what we know ". Everyday people are qouting Experts like it means something with the Novel Corona Virus.

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happyfly 3 weeks, 1 day ago

How about you find a study that proves that total population lockdowns have ever been previously tried before in human history, let alone are successful ways to respond to an airborne respiratory pathogen. The truth is that the CCP invented total lockdowns in January 2020 and we have all followed this marxist tomfoolery as if it's based on established scientific law. I do agree with you regarding study bias but these new studies are the "science" and they are not painting a pretty picture re. the long term reduction of harm

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proudloudandfnm 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Lockdown was pretty damned effective on GB....

Just sayin...

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moncurcool 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Further restrictions mean the only other movement during weekend lockdowns beside essential services, will be for one hour of worship services on Saturdays and Sundays between the hours of 7am and 1pm.

So everyone in Nassau will now say on Saturday and Sunday they going to church. This is madness.What's the point of a lockdown that's not a lockdown catering to the church?

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TigerB 3 weeks, 1 day ago

It's 3 days folks, 3 lousy days.... less than any other island punishment, and Nassau has more cases...I guess its ok to punish other islands with lockdowns for 2 and 3 weeks, but bypass Nassau, the one with the nastiest count... we need to see the numbers on the chart for what it is

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Dawes 3 weeks, 1 day ago

People are up in arms because those 3 days will do nothing. If he was serious he would lockdown hard for two weeks (i do not agree with this), but to lockdown for 3 days and then back to normal is stupid. But that is pretty much all this PM has shown since around June time.

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ISpeakFacts 3 weeks, 1 day ago

I'm still wondering how did Minnis have the audacity last week to say the pandemic was nearing it's end in the Bahamas when Nassau was racking up 100+ cases and a death every day!

I continue to say this, but Minnis continues to make himself look even more stupid, something I didn't think was possible!

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tribanon 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Totally unconstitutional !

Minnis is exercising powers of the most severe kind that could only be given to him by the people through a duly held national referendum.

He has become fixated and obsessed with doing whatever he wants to us. If he can shut your buiness down, he can take your property away from you. Think of what's coming if Bahamians remain docile and tolerate this nonsense. The man is not protecting us from Covid-19 but rather using it to cover up his incompetence and inability to govern. He should never have been elected and should not be allowed to remain in office.

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benniesun 3 weeks, 1 day ago

First some definitions (not exclusive) on reasoning which is the only tool we have to understand our dilemma:

-Inductive reasoning is a measurable aptitude for how well a person can identify a pattern within a large amount of data.

-Deductive reasoning is reasoning from the general to the particular (or from cause to effect).

-Intuitive reasoning is the faculty of apprehending a priori truths or principles.

Our major questions seem to be focused on "when will we return to normal", but how can we if the world is not normal. The clues are all around us and you have to look at what is going on with countries and governments worldwide then look at our government's history of telling the truth and being honest. In a conversation with another you can gather a lot of information from what is not said and body language. Obviously the government is not saying many things and its actions (body language) speak for it. Since governments worldwide are synchronized in their handling of an event, then it immediately infers organization and control. This small point would be argued and misconstrued by some as the rulers have indoctrinated the masses with misinformation and disinformation; all serving to confuse reasoning and limit understanding of the true reality.

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ohdrap4 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Where do you find this "reasoning" thang?

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Porcupine 3 weeks ago

And it will only get worse with AI.

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DDK 3 weeks, 1 day ago

...and still neither Minnis nor his HOA or Senate puppets have taken a reduction in salary while "piling on the pain" to the rest of the country, excepting the precious civil servants. They continue to borrow like there is no tomorrow, becoming further and further beholden to the Big Banks and the Global Monsters, all the while continuing to suck the "consolidated fund" dry and setting themselves up to be financially secure for their lifetimes. This is a sad and sick global trend in many advanced countries. The global "pandemic" was like a stroke of genius for all the callous bloodsuckers around the world. They may be a bunch of criminal, seemingly blundering yoyos, but it is all about power and money which has corrupted this lot beyond redemption. So, yes, Minnis and his merry band of thieves must go, before they declare a one party government, and no, we don't want the former band of thieves back either.

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jamaicaproud 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Jah know. Dis bredda is more incompetent than Baby Doc.

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Jetflt 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Our PM has lost his way. It is time for him to go - and go fast! Let me get this right. This rudderless government wants visitors to produce a negative COVID test on arrival, which I can accept, but then you have to be tested again on arrival, and tested a 3rd time some days later??? So why would a visitor go through all of that to visit the Bahamas??? For what??? The beautiful waters and the warm, friendly people??? Ain’t happenin.’ How stupid is that??? You’d have to be an idiot to go through all that.

The Bahamas is about to self destruct and this lockdown BS, open, close, open, close is going to be worse than the virus! Mark my word! It will take the BROKE Bahamas many years to pull out of the economic destruction. You all better learn to fish and grow cassava!

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