Minnis: No more restrictions planned

But PM urges adherence to protocols amid concerns over high case numbers

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said on Saturday that despite a recent rise in COVID-19 cases on New Providence, he has no plans at the moment to increase restrictions.

On Wednesday, 43 cases were recorded in the country, 27 of which were on New Providence, 12 on Grand Bahama, two on Eleuthera, one on Abaco and one in the Berry Islands. 

The number was a significant increase compared to daily numbers observed in recent months.

Minnis, however, said the uptick should be incentive enough for people to abide by the existing provisions in the current emergency order.

“No, I think that in itself would further advise and inform the Bahamian populous how important it is for us to follow the mitigating protocols,” he said after a walkabout in St. Anne’s constituency. 

Minnis said the positivity rate and the number of hospitalizations will determine the need for increased restrictions. 

“When I see the numbers, I would automatically calculate the numbers of positive cases versus the number of cases that were tested,” he said.

“And once that remains within a certain percentage level, I’m very comfortable. And I also would look at the hospitalization as I would be concerned if hospitalizations continue to rise and can present some degree of challenge.”

On Wednesday, the positivity rate was 8.7 percent, and 31 people were hospitalized.

However, since then, hospitalizations have increased and the positivity rate has on some days been over 10 percent.

On Friday, 53 new cases were confirmed in the country. The test positivity rate was 11.5 percent. 

Early in the pandemic, the World Health Organization recommended that the positive percent remain below five percent for at least two weeks before governments considered reopening.

As of Saturday, there were 41 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and the positivity rate was 5.8 percent.

Minnis said it is important that people get vaccinated as quickly as possible.

“I would urge the Bahamian populace that in spite of the aggressive movement of our vaccination process that they should continue to practice social distancing, wearing the face masks, hand sanitizing, etc.,” he said.

“But most of all, I think all should register when their time arrives and receive the vaccine that’s available here for us today.”

The National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee said yesterday more than 15,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered on New Providence, Grand Bahama and Eleuthera.

At present, The Bahamas has received 53,600 doses. Another 67,200 doses are due in the country next month.

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Rachel Scott

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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