Mass parties show guard is slipping


Dr Nikkiah Forbes


Tribune Staff Reporter


A LOCAL infectious diseases expert is again urging Bahamians to not let their guards down and become relaxed with current health protocols, insisting that the country’s fight with the novel coronavirus is far from over.

Director of the National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Programme at the Ministry of Health, Dr Nikkiah Forbes’ comments came after organisers of an event held over the weekend were cited nearly $100,000 for breaching COVID-19 orders.

Several videos of the event were widely circulated on social media, showing hundreds of people closely huddled together, with many seen not wearing masks while partying.

It also comes at a time when the country is seeing a major uptick in positive COVID-19 cases, with total infections at 10,283 after 63 new cases were recorded on Monday.

COVID-19 related deaths are also on the rise after a 45-year-old man from Bimini died on April 25, pushing the nation’s tally to 198.

“We continue to see an increase in hospitalisations and we are challenged because of staff shortages because we have had a number of persons that have retired from the healthcare field and so that has caused some strain as it relates to staffing,” Dr Forbes told The Tribune yesterday.

“We are not at full bed capacity, but we don’t want to get there and…to prevent COVID from spreading, we do need the public health measures to be followed and we all have to follow the public health measures and if there are gatherings, they can become super spreader events and they themselves can worsen the outbreak.

“So, in order to beat COVID, we all have to follow the public health measures, we need a robust vaccination programme that vaccinates many people as soon as possible and we need a robust strong public response to identify cases, put them in isolation to stop the spread, do contact tracing and put the contacts in quarantine and do follow up testing.”

When contacted by this newspaper yesterday, Chief Superintendent Zhivago Dames, officer-in-charge of the COVID Enforcement Unit, said large social gatherings continue to be a cause of concern for officials.

“It’s very concerning when you have persons who are reckless and have social gatherings especially in the numbers that you would’ve seen on the event that would’ve taken place on Sunday,” he said.

“And so, our message is the same as always. You need to do your best to ensure that you adhere to the Emergency Powers Orders because the life that you save may just be your very own.”

Chief Supt Dames also noted that since January, officers have cited over 100 businesses for operating illegally and some 76 people for hosting large social events.

He told this newspaper: “For the year to date, we would’ve cited some 101 businesses for operating prohibited. We would’ve cited over 235 persons for patronising a prohibited business and we’re just nearing 100 events have been cited or rather persons who would’ve been holding events. Some 76 events thereabout around that number for persons who would’ve been hosting social gatherings.”

According to officials, organisers of Sunday’s event are expected to appear before the Magistrate’s Court for failing to comply with COVID-19 rules.


tribanon 1 year, 3 months ago

Minnis is no doubt thinking of increasing the ranks of his gestapo squad of COVID ambassadors and giving them the added power to issue citations to party goers for excess alcohol consumption. lol


TalRussell 1 year, 3 months ago

Hasn't any Slippage' of the herd not been encouraged-on by the realm's elected. politically appointed and health officials, recklessly rushed predictions that how as a result their astute handling of the infectious diseases, the PopoulacesHerds', and tourists alike can begin the return to maskless breathin' of the pre infectious diseases behavioral days.
Yes, start to do what the red party's general election campaign people have been doing, since January of 2020.**


ThisIsOurs 1 year, 3 months ago

ok the next story they need to run: "guest arrivals increase probability of covid variants" pics of tourists coming off planes and jumping off yachts


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