PM warns Bahamians to avoid large gatherings

As he received more than 33,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine today, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis called on Bahamians to avoid large gatherings over the Easter holiday weekend, warning that such activities could send the economy into a tailspin and start a third wave of COVID-19 infections.

Even as more of us receive the vaccine, we must still adhere to the other life-saving heath measures,” Minnis said shortly after 33,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, secured through the COVAX Facility, arrived at Jet Aviation.

“…It is also extremely important to avoid large gatherings. Easter weekend is traditionally a time for family gatherings and fellowship, including beach picnics.

 “But we are still in the midst of a pandemic. COVID-19 case numbers in The Bahamas and around the world make it clear that the pandemic is not yet over.

“I wish to remind you that under the emergency orders, in New Providence and Grand Bahama, groups at all beaches and parks are limited to five per group.

“COVID ambassadors will monitors beaches and parks to ensure enforcement of our emergency orders.

“Large gatherings over this weekend could set the country back. If we continue to exercise discipline over a longer time, we will reap the benefits.”

When asked if he intends to introduce additional restrictive measures, the prime minister said he will be guided by health professionals. However, he called for discipline.

“If we were to make the sacrifices in terms of mitigation processes that the health professionals and the World Health Organization would have introduced – if we… were to make that sacrifice for an additional two weeks, then we would have a beautiful independence and a marvelous, splendid Christmas.”

The prime minister encouraged Bahamians to take the vaccine and added that it is dangerous to delay doing so.

“We cannot afford a painful third wave and, therefore, we all must and have to do our part,” Minnis said.

“We do not want another surge of cases here in The Bahamas. This will result in more hospitalizations and more deaths.”

Minnis said health officials are monitoring COVID-19 outbreaks on Grand Bahama and Eleuthera where cases are increasing.

He said the vaccination program will be accelerated on those islands to address the increase in cases. Surveillance efforts will also be enhanced on those islands, Minnis added.

He said the government may take further steps once health officials present their findings.

Vaccinations began on Eleuthera today and will continue until Thursday. Vaccinations are expected to begin on Abaco and Bimini next week.

“The only way out of this pandemic is through vaccination,” Minnis said.

“Anyone who tells you otherwise is providing you with absolute false information.”

The Bahamas has confirmed more than 9,000 cases of COVID-19.

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Krystel Brown

Krystel covers breaking news for The Nassau Guardian. Krystel also manages The Guardian’s social media pages. She joined The Nassau Guardian in 2007 as a staff reporter, covering national news. She was promoted to online editor in May 2017. Education: Benedict College, BA in Mass Communications

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