PM COVID Update

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Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis

By Abria Cooper

Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis shared the progress the Bahamas has made regarding
COVID-19 cases during his most recent national address.


According to the PM between the October 10th and November 5th , new COVID-19 cases
decreased by 50 percent. In the last 7 days, new COVID-19 cases decreased by eight percent.
The national average of the number of new cases each week continues to fall. Hospitalizations
have decreased by 68 percent from mid-October to now. The data suggests that transmission is
decreasing.


The most recent data put our national positivity rate at 16 percent, which is a 44.8 percent
reduction from the week just before the measures were put in place. We have seen good progress
on both New Providence and Abaco.


“Because we have made progress together, I am pleased to announce the following new revised
measures for New Providence and Abaco, effective tomorrow, Monday, the 9th of November,”
he said.


The weekend 24-hour curfew is lifted. The curfew on Saturdays and Sundays are now be from 6
p.m. to 5 a.m. The weekday curfew have moved to 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. This 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew
will also apply to Grand Bahama on weekdays and at the weekends. The retail sector, including
pharmacies, may resume in-store services Monday to Saturday following the protocols prepared
by 4 The Bahamas Federation of Retailers and certified by the Ministry of Health.


On Saturdays, food stores may open to the public. On Sundays, food stores may carry out
restocking. Outdoor dining may resume at restaurants and at fish frys, Monday to Saturday. On
Sunday, only drive-thru and take away services will be permitted. At hotels, indoor dining may
also resume. Beaches and parks will now be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 5 a.m. to 6
p.m. Please remember that groups are limited to five people and beaches and parks will be
closely monitored by the COVID19 Enforcement Unit.


“We continue to consult with health officials to determine the appropriate time for the safe
reopening of gyms, spas and other elements of our economy. Health officials will continue to
closely monitor COVID-19 developments on New Providence and Abaco and continue to assess
the health data. I heartily thank all of those who continue to follow the health measures. Because
of your patience, your fortitude and your discipline, we are making progress,” he said.


The PM also acknowledged that many of these measures have been difficult on many families
and businesses.

“But I assure you that what we are doing in the short-term, will help families, businesses and the
ongoing reopening of our economy in the medium- and long-term. I would like to acknowledge
the Family Islands that currently have no active cases of COVID-19,” he said.


These islands include: Acklins, Crooked Island, Cat Island, Inagua, Mayaguana, Long Island,
San Salvador, Rum Cay and Ragged Island. I wish to now speak directly to the people of
Eleuthera. A Ministry of Health medical team traveled to Eleuthera last week to assess the
COVID-19 situation on the island.


As of Saturday, November 7th , a total of 117 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been recorded
on the island. All districts in Eleuthera have recorded cases of COVID-19. South Eleuthera has
the greatest proportion of cases with 37.8 percent; followed by North Eleuthera with 29.7% and
then Central Eleuthera with 24.4 percent.


Health officials have reported that a number of COVID-19 cases have been linked to bars.
Additionally, the current increase in cases on Eleuthera has been linked to a funeral held two
weeks ago. Health officials also reported that there appears to be minimal to no adherence to
public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


“I am advised that some concerned residents of Eleuthera have called for more restrictive
measures to be put in place to arrest the spread of COVID-19. After its visit to and assessment of
mainland Eleuthera, health officials have made a number of recommendations geared toward
slowing and controlling the transmission of the virus on the island,” he said.


The new measures apply to mainland Eleuthera and are effective tomorrow, Monday, November
9th 2020. The new measures do not apply to Spanish Wells or Harbour Island.


A 24-hour weekend curfew was implemented, starting 6 p.m. on Fridays and ending 5 a.m. on
Mondays. During the 24-hour weekend curfew, businesses will not be permitted to operate,
including grocery stores, restaurants, and pharmacies.


A new updated Emergency Order will provide further details as it relates to specific provisions
during the 24-hour weekend curfew. During the week, from Monday to Friday, a daily curfew
will be in effect from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. Commercial activity will continue during non-curfew
hours. The health team has recommended the closure of all bars.


As a result of this recommendation, all bars and restaurants connected to bars are to be closed.
Residents should not operate bars from their residences. All private and public social gatherings
are prohibited.


Indoor church services are not permitted. In-person classroom instruction of students is also
prohibited. Both may occur by virtual means only. Funerals are to be a maximum of 10 people at
the graveside excluding the officiant and caretakers. Weddings are to be a maximum of 10 people excluding the officiant. Receptions and repasts are prohibited. Health officials will
continue to closely monitor the COVID19 situation on Eleuthera.


The PM also reminded Bahamians on every island that the COVID-19 virus is easy to catch and
can spread quickly and get out of control when they let down their guard.


“When we stop wearing our mask or have certain social events and gatherings or do not maintain
physical distancing, the virus will take easy advantage. To reduce the spread on Eleuthera, I ask
everyone on the island to please go back to the measures that worked for you in the past, so that
Eleuthera can reopen various areas as safely and as quickly as possible,” he said.


He added that the Royal Bahamas Defence Force is on alert and in place to ensure that vessels do
not flee Eleuthera in violation of the Orders.


Additional police resources have been deployed to ensure enforcement of measures put in place
to protect the residents of Eleuthera.

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