Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillan yesterday suggested that political campaigning should not take place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If there is a concern with respect to activities that are occurring, I understand that there are a number of avenues for individuals to make reports,” McMillan said when asked about the Ministry of Health’s stance on the recent campaigning.
“I know that there is a number where you can actually report events that you see occurring and we encourage that. The Ministry of Health continues to make the recommendations that [are] based on the science. Certainly, our recommendations remain the same.
“There should not be gatherings that are above and beyond what has been agreed upon in the emergency orders as well as you need to wear your mask. You need to continue to sanitize. I think in the address I just made, I made it very clear.
“Those types of gatherings should not be occurring and certainly, individuals have a responsibility to protect themselves and others by not availing themselves of such events be they political, be they a party, be they a gathering of family.”
McMillan said The Bahamas has to continue to follow public health measures.
She said it is the only way that it will be able to “continue to move down the road of being in the position that we all want to be in”.
The current emergency order prohibits social gatherings on New Providence, Abaco, Eleuthera and Exuma.
However, despite ongoing concerns about COVID-19 and persistent calls by health authorities for social distancing and adherence to other health protocols, the last several weeks have been characterized by sustained campaign events in an atmosphere punctuated by growing campaign rhetoric and pledges from political parties seeking to woo voters.
House Speaker Halson Moultrie has said that political campaigning in large crowds should “absolutely not” be permitted during the pandemic.
Just under 9,300 COVID cases have been confirmed since March 2020.
McMillan said health officials remain concerned about the increase in new cases and hospitalizations on Abaco, Grand Bahama and New Providence.
“For lack of a better word, we are begging that we do our best to decrease the likelihood of transmission of the virus,” McMillan said.