Emergency period to extend to Sept. 30

As The Bahamas reported a record 25 new coronavirus cases yesterday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis tabled a resolution in Parliament to extend the state of emergency to September 30.

“COVID-19 is not going anywhere,” Minnis said.

“It’s going to be here with us until we have developed a vaccine. So, we must learn to live with it. Our lives obviously will change. But we cannot lockdown, open up, lockdown, open up. That can’t continue. Therefore, we will have to determine, as to the number and level we can live with and our behavioral patterns will have to change.”

The resolution is expected to be debated today in the House of Assembly.

Yesterday’s 25 new cases presented the highest single-day total since The Bahamas recorded its first case in March, pushing the total number of confirmed cases to 219.

Grand Bahama presented 13 new cases, while six were confirmed on New Providence, four on the Berry Islands and two on Bimini.

While Baker’s Bay reported that a Mexican worker and a Bahamian subcontractor at the Abaco development tested positive for COVID-19, those cases were not reflected in the numbers presented by the Ministry of Health yesterday.

Baker’s Bay said the Mexican worker tested negative for COVID-19 before arriving and had been on the project for the last 20 days.

The Bahamian subcontractor, who is a resident of Abaco, recently traveled to Freeport, the development said.

Yesterday’s dashboard did not state travel specifics for any of the new cases and only gave the sexes and ages for 13 of the individuals. No travel history has been reported for most of the 115 cases reported in the last two weeks.

While the Ministry of Health stated that there are now 13 people in hospital, it did not specify which cases.

In total, there have been 114 confirmed cases on New Providence, 81 on Grand Bahama, 17 on Bimini, one on Cat Cay, two on Cat Island and four on the Berry Islands.

The Cat Island cases were reported on Tuesday after a mother and daughter were flown to Nassau on Monday after displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

The Bahamas has reported more cases in a two-week window than it did in nearly four months.

Between March 15 and June 14, the country recorded 104 cases. Between July 8 and July 22, the country reported 115 cases.

There are 115 active cases in the country, according to the health dashboard.

According to health officials, between Tuesday and Wednesday, 31 tests were completed as 3,759 tests were reported as completed on Wednesday, while 3,728 tests were completed up to Tuesday.

Since July 8, Grand Bahama alone has recorded 74 new COVID-19 cases after having recorded no cases since May 5.

A two-week lockdown of the island will begin at 7 p.m. today and will continue until August 7 at 5 a.m.

As a result of this latest surge in cases, the country’s borders have been closed to all international commercial travel, except travel from Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Private air charters and private sea vessels will still be permitted.

Yesterday in Parliament, Minnis suggested that the government will be moving away from implementing lockdowns, saying, “A lockdown, open, lockdown, open would only be frustrating to the Bahamian populous, but may destroy your economy and your international reputation for good.”

Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar on Monday stated that the resurgence in COVID-19 cases is “home-grown” and that the government was not strict enough on Bahamians traveling in and out of the country.

The resurgence in cases has had widespread effects on the country.

It has once again forced Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) to suspend elective admissions and elective surgeries until further notice.

Only emergency surgeries will be accommodated, with the exception of oncology, vascular and caesarean section procedures.

Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre has also suspended visitation. National examinations, which had already been postponed, have been suspended again.

Eleven people have died in the country from the novel coronavirus, while 91 people have recovered.

Globally, there have been over 15 million confirmed cases of the virus and over 618,000 deaths.

In nearby Florida, there have been over 380,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and over 5,300 deaths.

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