Director of the National HIV/AIDS Program Dr. Nikkiah Forbes warned yesterday that if Bahamians do not follow the instructions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, more restrictive measures may once again be implemented.
Forbes made the comments as she noted that, with 15 new cases in one week, The Bahamas is experiencing a second wave of the virus.
“[If] cases are rising exponentially, if the general public, individually and collectively, is not following the instructions, then you have to think about measures that are imposed to reduce the virus spread,” she said on the Guardian Radio talk show “Morning Blend” with host Dwight Strachan.
“And that is the definition of curfews and lockdowns. But those are uncomfortable and difficult for social and economic life.
“So, I’ll put it like that. It is not a perfect situation, but let us look at our reality. All countries have got to balance social, economics and health. We have got to do this properly if we are going to continue to enjoy our way of life as we have enjoyed previously.”
Forbes continued, “People need to slow down and stop what they’re doing and follow the instructions, so that if there are pockets of COVID in the community, it can stop community spread.”
She added, “If people are not following the measures, then you have to consider whether or not you impose other measures.”
Ten new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed on Grand Bahama between July 8 and July 14; one of whom is hospitalized.
The borders for international travel were opened July 1.
Grand Bahama had previously gone 63 days without a new case.
Forbes said the Ministry of Health is aware of many issues that may be contributing to a rise in cases and could cause community spread.
“We know there were travelers that came from places where there could be high transmission,” she said.
“We know that persons are being dishonest and circumventing the system and amending these reports. How can we know that if you Photoshopped it in? We know that persons are not listening to the self-quarantine [and] going about and socializing.
“We know that there are parties, fish fries and other gatherings, people having parties in their backyards.
“That will most definitely lead to an increase in infections. What can we do now?
“If we can halt all of the crowding together and the parties, it can help to reduce the spread. You won’t see the effects of that until one or two incubation periods, 14 to 28 days. But we need to start from now.”
Forbes said there could already be community spread.
“It’s a second wave,” she said.
“If you look at the definition, there was a number of cases and now you have an increase of cases after an amount of time.
“But, what is it? Is it a cluster? Is it one or two people that brought it in that didn’t follow the self-quarantine instructions?
“[W]hen you look at it close up, it could be that people are close contacts, but it could also be that it is community spread.”
Forbes also noted that continued reports of falsified test results could lead to further travel restrictions.
She said health officials cannot determine how many instances there have been of fraudulent test results being used to enter The Bahamas.
“We have heard that there are some people who are falsifying tests.
“[We] can’t know how many.
“We have heard reports of that. And that speaks to their character and dishonesty. But if we cannot know if it’s edited, and it looks perfectly correct and succinct, we have to consider what else we have to put in place.
“If there is a problem, what will we do as it relates to allowing travel? And certainly, that’s another reason why people should follow all the measures.”
There were 119 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas up to yesterday.