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‘Lockdowns Work - But Need To Find Balance’

Health Minister Renward Wells. Photo: Kemuel Stubbs/BIS

Health Minister Renward Wells. Photo: Kemuel Stubbs/BIS

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

HEALTH Minister Renward Wells yesterday defended the government’s use of lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic saying the tough measures have been proven to work.

He said in instances where Grand Bahama and Bimini residents were restricted from moving, the end result saw COVID-19 cases fall drastically.

The results on these two islands, he said led to government and health professionals calling for a more stringent lockdown. However, he said, a balance must be struck so that the economy is not destroyed.

He also skirted around answering a question about whether another two-week lockdown was in the works for New Providence where case numbers are steadily increasing.

“I would say that that’s not the facts,” Mr Wells said when asked to respond to critics who have repeatedly said that lockdowns do not work. Among these is Progressive Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis who recently said the measure only “pauses” the situation.

“Lockdowns work and they have been proven to work,” Mr Wells said.

“We locked down Bimini in the first wave for 14-days with a surge in Bimini and it got to the point where I think for some 50 days there was not one case of COVID in Bimini between April and June. In our second wave there was a surge in cases where people are now looking at New Providence but the surge wasn’t happening here it was happening in Grand Bahama.

“We locked down Grand Bahama for 28 days. Folks missed that. Twenty-eight days of a lock down in Grand Bahama and Bimini and what do we have? We were seeing 20, 30 cases in Grand Bahama a day. We are now seeing one case, two cases, three cases.

“Lockdowns break the chains of transmission of this virus. We know that it’s been proven and so what we’re seeking to do is to manage lockdowns without completely damaging and destroying our economic life.

“So the government of The Bahamas, health professionals are calling for a more stringent lockdown, but we as policy makers we have to balance the lockdowns that are being requested with the aspirations of the Bahamian people and the economic desire of the Bahamian people to be able to get out there and work and so that’s where the health protocols come into place.”

Asked if a two-week lockdown could again occur for New Providence as was the case in Grand Bahama and Bimini, Mr Wells said: “I can simply say to you that our initial response to this now is we’ve had a weekend lockdown, we’re going to weekend lockdowns as the Prime Minister announced. We’ve also taken the curfew from 10pm and put it down to 7pm.

“What we’re seeking to do is to reduce the amount of social interactions that the Bahamian people are engaging in. That’s the first response that we’re having as an administration and seeking to give the Bahamian people the day in which they can work.

“But the reality is we should work while it’s yet day for the night comes when no man works so we’re seeking to simply have the Bahamian people engaging in the kinds of activities that they ought to be engaging in in the day and we’re seeking to reduce that at night and to reduce the social interactions on the weekends with a hope of us being able to contain this virus,” Mr Wells said.

Last week, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced weekend lockdowns beginning at 7pm on Fridays for New Providence and Abaco, two islands with high cases. During the week, a nightly curfew of 7pm is also in place among other restrictions.

He did not give an end date for these measures.

Comments

ohdrap4 2 weeks, 2 days ago

I thought I clicked on Inigo's column. Sorry. Wrong number.

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UN 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Maybe: small town, more people = more cases? Keep locking down and when more businesses fail they won’t have any money at all to pay back debt.

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whogothere 2 weeks, 2 days ago

....grand Bahama had 80 cases when the lockdown started it now has 600+....on may 14th When Bimini’s lockdown started there were 11 cases, there are now 56..in both islands cases more than quadrupled...before they slowed. In the first 14 days of august over the lockdown cases increased from 291 to 821, in the same period in 3 weeks later in September (4 to 19th) cases went 1590 to 2289.increasing by almost the exact same multiple despite being full open... come man don t lie to us - it just don t look good on you!!

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bahamianson 2 weeks, 2 days ago

who needs to find a balance, the people breaking the lockdowns and partying or the people abiding by the social distancing, mask wearing and sanitizing? During lockdowns, if people are still going to bars, having air BNB parties, not social distancing and not wearing masks, what do you think will happen? Will the lockdown be successful, or is it the workplace's fault when these same people take the virus to work?

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Topdude 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Why are the European nations, including the Dutch, now returning to intensive lockdowns? It is because this is the most effective way to control this pandemic. We Bahamians are too selfish. Just be cool for a few weeks, stay home, reduce social contact and wear those masks and we will have this thing under control. Please do not let short term freedom destroy our long term future. I wonder what nonsense Tribanon will belch about this documented reality.

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tribanon 2 weeks, 2 days ago

@Topdude: I guess you haven't heard that the WHO, PAHO, CDC, etc. are all now warning countries to stop using lockdowns as their primary control method.

“We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” the group’s envoy, Dr. David Nabarro, told world health leaders and media on this past Sunday.

https://www.dailywire.com/news/who-re...">https://www.dailywire.com/news/who-re...

Our grossly incompetent Minnis has unleashed his brainless and most vicious chain dog Wells on our health workers, and they all know it!

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whogothere 2 weeks, 2 days ago

@topdude Because it didn t work the first time. And they are too stubborn to admit they got it wrong...So cases are exploding again. But not in no lockdown Sweden... with no masks life returns to normal..and without a bankruptOmg populous or government and with no excess deaths in comparison to previous years.... hmmm... meanwhile these 5 months lockdown sunk us deep into debt, cancelled diagnosis of cancer of surgeries, put 100k people on food bank support, threatened children’s education and saw an uptick of suicide attempts, crime and domestic violence...for what? There is No evidence a single life as been saved!

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jackbnimble 2 weeks, 2 days ago

The fact that he’s agreeing with this shouldn’t surprise anyone bearing in mind he’s brown nosed his way into the position. If Minnis said jumping off a cliff would make the numbers go down, he’d be first in line. They are killing the economy and putting people out of business. Don’t worry by the time we get the numbers down there won’t be anything left to tax!

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tribanon 2 weeks, 2 days ago

And this plays into the hand of the sinister and evil Communist Chinese Party which is waiting in the wings to take our country from us.

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TalRussell 2 weeks, 2 days ago

There can be deathly differences between a more manageable buffer zone local existence economy and that of one inviting cruise ships to disembark packed onboard like sardines 3,000 - 5,000 passenger loads out onto our docks for a few hours in the hope of them dumping US$50 head, and as potentially likewise deadly with the flungin'' open colony's borders to potential 6 million killer viruses totting US, Canadian, Asian, and European stopover tourism 4-day visits. Shakehead once for Yeah creating a safer local buffer will brungs about a cut in salaries and benefits for the House-elected and the politically appointed hires, being sent home,** Twice for Not?

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Amused 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Last I checked most the population is jammed up on new providence, so what do these jack in the boxes expect? For new providence to have lower count number than any other island? Think again. Most all the activity happens here, so you can expect higher numbers in most cases here than any other island. I guess Christmas and New Years we will be locked down too at this rate aye

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 2 days ago

The problem with out lockdowns is, theyve do nothing else. If you lock down, had everybody tested, removed the infdcted, the lockdown would work. The current model will never work not with the spread we have. We'd have to lockdown forever. Because as soon as you open the asymtomatic will start spreading to the community again.

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Topdude 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Lockdowns: 70 million Frenchmen and Frenchwomen could not be wrong. Right.

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DWW 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Lockdown works for the very short time period in which it is executed. as soon as it is over the positive benefit is eliminated. therefore whats the point? the focus needs to be on a public education campaign like the AIDS days, or teenage pregnancy or any other disease the human race has encountered. Teach and educate people on how they CAN go about daily lives while at the same time limiting their exposure. it can be done. an ounce of prevention = pound of cure right

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