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Nurses: End state of emergency

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas Nurses Union has suggested the government put an end to the state of emergency, which is set to expire on May 23, saying The Bahamas must learn to coexist with the COVID virus.

Speaking to The Tribune yesterday, BNU General Secretary Sheniqua Cox said while the union believes the nation should have some sort of legal framework in place to enforce current health measures, Bahamians must also be able to make their own decisions relating to their health.

Saying the current emergency order and associated protocols did not stop the country from experiencing a second or third wave, Ms Cox stressed it’s now time for the government to focus on other preventative strategies aimed at keeping virus cases low.

Key among them includes a robust vaccination campaign and a comprehensive public education campaign centred on the COVID-19 prevention initiatives, she said.

“We were in this pandemic for over a year, so how long is this government going to take away our decisions on protecting ourselves? We need to now educate our public on the importance of the health guidelines, national regulations and guidelines on COVID-19 such as wearing masks, such as social distancing and such as crowd control and sanitisation,” she told The Tribune.

“We need to have these national guidelines in effect, straight across the board, so when you go to any island across The Bahamas, this is what is accepted. Also, we now have vaccines. They have to educate the public on the importance of getting vaccines and once they are educated, they become better equipped to make their own informed decisions.”

She added: “As I always hear (attorney) Wayne Munroe say, does COVID go away at 10pm? Our nurses work around the clock 24 hours a day. COVID is still out there from after 10pm so what has being on a curfew from 10pm done for us? We’re experiencing a third wave even though we’re under curfew at 10pm. You have to give people freedom in terms of health and making their own decisions.”

The BNU official also said those who choose not to follow the health measures should have to face the consequences, noting the importance of law enforcement.

“That’s why we have COVID teams and teams to go around to ensure that there are establishments adhering to these guidelines and if an establishment is not adhering to the guidelines, then you close down that particular establishment.

“You can’t just punish everybody for that one person not adhering so that’s why I say we need national rules on how to govern ourselves,” Ms Cox continued. “We have to learn how to cope with this (virus). We have to learn how to make informed decisions for ourselves and loved ones. There’s no way around this but education and advising and teaching people how to live with this.”

The country has been under a state of emergency since March 2020. During the first wave of the pandemic, cases and deaths were relatively low — with just over 100 confirmed cases at the beginning of July 2020 and 11 deaths.

Those numbers, however, surged in early July 2020 after the country re-opened its borders, ushering in a second wave of infections.

In April, health officials confirmed The Bahamas had entered its third wave of infections after more than 1,100 new cases were reported for that month alone.

On Sunday, total cases in the country rose to 10,908 after 46 new cases were recorded. Of the total figure, 764 of those cases are active. Meanwhile, there have been 214 virus related deaths confirmed.

On Friday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said officials have not decided whether to extend the country’s state of emergency when it expires May 23.

He told reporters that his administration will make a decision on the matter following discussions with physicians.

Last month, Attorney General Carl Bethel confirmed that whether a new statutory framework is implemented, or the state of emergency is extended, “there will be some legal framework” to restrict physical contact until the country obtains herd immunity.

Yesterday, Ms Cox said to her knowledge, no one has contacted the union on the way forward. However, she acknowledged that the union believes implementing new legislation to replace current emergency orders is the more “ feasible” approach.

For his part, Progressive Liberal Party Deputy Leader Chester Cooper said the opposition party will not support another extension of the emergency orders.

“We are well documented on record in saying that a constant state of emergency is unhealthy for the economy, is unhealthy for the psyche of our people and unhealthy for industry, particularly tourism. We advise the government to really amend the necessary legislation that’s already on the books so that we can move to a state of a new normal,” Mr Cooper told The Tribune.

Comments

tribanon 1 year, 3 months ago

BNU General Secretary Sheniqua Cox sounds like a supporter Minnis's desire to use the Wuhan Virus as the ideal excuse for never fully restoring our constitutionally guaranteed civil rights and liberties.

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DDK 1 year, 3 months ago

Sounds sensible until we get to permanent restrictions, then she sounds like Minnis and Bethel!

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JokeyJack 1 year, 3 months ago

Chester Cooper, we don't want your new normal. If that's what you're running on, save your $400. I see the mass shootings have been increasing in the USA. Even had a school shooting in Russia yesterday (of all places). People are reaching the end of their rope. How many more feet or inches are on that rope? I don't know. The problem, often times though, is that when ropes reach their ends and uprisings begin they are often very very difficult or even impossible to stop. I remember the LA riots after Rodney King. Imagine that on a global scale?

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carltonr61 1 year, 3 months ago

So Minnis lie when he say he met medical bodies for advise. So he met with his yes men and women. My God.

Yesterday, Ms Cox said to her knowledge, no one has contacted the union on the way forward. However, she acknowledged that the union believes implementing new legislation to replace current emergency orders is the more “ feasible” approach

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carltonr61 1 year, 3 months ago

Macron of France faces a military rebellion any time soon. Bahamas Workers Union grumbling. Soon FNM may learn why crawfish tail red.

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carltonr61 1 year, 3 months ago

I don't see why anyone is hitting on her statements. She is saying, simply, stop this crazy madness freaking us out on deaths as far many people who eat too much salt die from stroke this year than Covid. Time for the nurses to take over medical advise.

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carltonr61 1 year, 3 months ago

Whit Monday coming up. Minnis gets a high passion for locking down our holidays. Beware. Even neo-sadistic Sands don't want families to get a relief. Or only vaccinated could enjoy Holy holiday.

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John 1 year, 3 months ago

EXPLAIN THIS: in the US. Several members of a baseball team tested positive for Covid-19 several weeks after the entire team was vaccinated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. They were ALL required to quarantine. So what does the vaccine do again? What is the benefits?

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themessenger 1 year, 3 months ago

“We were in this pandemic for over a year, so how long is this government going to take away our decisions on protecting ourselves? We need to now educate our public on the importance of the health guidelines, national regulations and guidelines on COVID-19 such as wearing masks, such as social distancing and such as crowd control and sanitisation,”

What rock did this woman just crawl out from under? This is exactly what the health officials and government have been preaching and advocating for the last year.

Educating a D average populace is and has been the biggest part of the problem, like vaccines for example.

You can lead the horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Stupid is what stupid does!

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GodSpeed 1 year, 3 months ago

Should have never locked down in the first place. This virus is like the flu, it is never going away. The country with the highest vaccination rate on Earth (over 60%) went back into lockdown, cases rocketed when the vaccine arrived, coincidence I think not. Not taking the vax.

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jujutreeclub 1 year, 3 months ago

I don't know where this woman is getting her information, coaching from, but this is the dumbest things I have heard in a very very very long time. She is campaigning for a melt down in the medical profession and the system being overwhelmed. Bahamians are hard headed. You ask them to stay inside, they go outside, wear mask, they don't, wear helmet , they dont, don't wear helmet, they do, Unless she is trying to use reverse psychology on the general populace, this will not work. They are complaining about working too many hours now. Look at the nigh clubs every night, packed with non mask wearing patrons. Want to heart from her if her recommendations are put in place.

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carltonr61 1 year, 3 months ago

You must be a robot without blood, life family, children, friends, religion, future plans, a past,a real job, people who need and love you, unless you are a paid vaccine propagandist.

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themessenger 1 year, 3 months ago

Ah yes, the reemergence of one of the world’s tried and true failures and I see that nut you call a brain is still spinning on its worn screw You really need to try and avoid these hairy dark spots you seem to keep stumbling into.

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