Bimini residents told to be on alert after COVID spike


Tribune Chief Reporter


BIMINI officials are urging residents to keep their guard up as the island grapples with yet another spike in COVID-19 cases.

On Monday, the Ministry of Health reported 11 new cases of the virus on Bimini, saying the cases recorded “indicate evidence of clustering that is linked to a local resort”.

In a statement yesterday, Resorts World Bimini did not make clear whether the new cases originated at its property, but it said measures have been implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Resorts World takes the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously,” David Winslow, vice president of human resources at Resorts World Bimini, said in a brief statement to The Tribune.

“Although progress has been made in reducing the spread of the disease, it is far from over. Now is not the time to let our guard down.

“To ensure the safety of all team members, families, our community and our guests, Resorts World Bimini has implemented measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures have been reviewed by governmental officials.”

Speaking about the issue yesterday, State Minister for Disaster Preparedness Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe said she was not aware of plans for another lockdown at this time. The island was placed under a two-week lockdown in May 2020. At the time, there were 13 new cases and officials labelled the island a COVID-19 hotspot.

As MP for the area, Mrs Parker-Edgecombe made an appeal for residents to intensify safety protocols in view of recent findings.

She said: “The 11 cases are indeed concerning, having had to deal with a similar situation at the onset of the COVID pandemic which put a halt to the business sector especially.

“As our doors are about to open even further for tourists’ arrivals, it is incumbent upon all, to ensure that what needs to be done, to ensure the well-being of residents and visitors alike, takes place.

“That means that safety protocols must be enforced strongly. I am also appealing for more COVID ambassadors, with the expectation that thousands of visitors are coming to our shores, beginning as soon as July 4, 2021.”

She continued: “I plan on reaching out to health officials as well as RWB personnel. This fight against the coronavirus demands a concerted effort and all hands-on deck. I admonish residents to not let their guards down.”

For his part, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said there will from time to time be outbreaks of the virus around the country.

He insisted that The Bahamas has done well, despite some 300,000 visitors into the country as of the end of May.

“There are going to be little, small outbreaks here and a little small outbreak there, but by and large up until the end of May there were 300,000 persons that came into the country. Look at the level of hospitalisations. Look at the level of positive cases.

“You will notice in the month of June the numbers have been trending down from April and May. So, I think we have done an excellent job of reopening our tourism economy, getting it back on track, getting Bahamians back to work. You would have seen the taxicab drivers very happy about the level of business.

“People are going back to work. They are starting to make tips. They are starting to make gratuities. They are starting to get salaries back. So, I am very optimistic and as I look into the next month or so the numbers keep getting better,” the tourism minister said.


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