Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest have gone into self-quarantine after the Cecil Wallace-Whitfield Centre, which houses their offices, was closed for cleaning and sanitization following exposure to COVID-19, the Cabinet Office announced yesterday.
It said there was no confirmation that either Minnis or Turnquest was exposed to COVID-19.
The Cabinet Office said they will remain quarantined “until further instructions from the Ministry of Health”.
“Other employees of the Cecil Wallace-Whitfield Centre are encouraged to self-quarantine until further instructions are issued by the Ministry of Health,” it said in a statement.
It added, “The Ministry of Health’s Surveillance Unit has initiated contact tracing to determine the level of exposure to employees and visitors to the Cecil Wallace-Whitfield Centre.”
Minnis and Turnquest are expected to work from home.
In an interview with ZNS, the prime minister said he was advised that the individual who subsequently tested positive had entered his office at some point.
Minnis said he feels fit and described his self-quarantine.
“This may possibly be the will of the Lord, so the entire Bahamas can understand what COVID is about and what the pandemic is about and maybe the Lord is sending the message informing The Bahamas that COVID is real and the pandemic is real and it can affect anybody,” he said.
The Nassau Guardian understands that the building was closed after an employee working on the third floor tested positive for COVID-19.
The incident occurred as The Bahamas continued to grapple with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first wave, which spanned from March until June, saw the confirmation of 104 cases in The Bahamas.
There have been 885 confirmed cases since the country’s border reopened on July 1.
Yesterday, 44 cases were confirmed, bringing to 989 the total number of cases confirmed in The Bahamas.
Both public and private institutions have been impacted by the second wave.
Yesterday, Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) confirmed that a contractor tested positive for COVID-19 at its Clifton Pier plant and was being quarantined at a government facility.
BPL said it activated a COVID-19 response plan. The facility was cleaned and individuals who came into contact with the COVID-positive employee were asked to self-isolate and contact the Ministry of Health.
The National Insurance Board (NIB) has also been impacted by COVID-19.
In a correspondence to staff that circulated yesterday, Cyprianna Bethel, deputy director of Talent Management and Capacity Development at NIB, advised that there was a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the New Providence headquarters on Baillou Hill Road.
Bethel advised that the offices were closed yesterday and will be closed today so they can be sanitized.
“It should be noted that any confirmed case or contacts will be notified by the Ministry of Health’s contact tracing team if there is reasonable risk,” she added.