Sands welcomes news of possible end to state of emergency

Former Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands yesterday welcomed the news that the government is considering ending the state of emergency in The Bahamas in August. 

“I think this is a new normal and I think we have to treat the COVID reality as a part of our very existence and incorporate it into an all of government approach,” he said when called for comment.

“We all now need to be thinking about everything that we do, not just in the context of COVID but the other possible pandemics that could arise. 

“We’ve learned a lot of lessons.”

On Tuesday, Attorney General Carl Bethel said the government is seeking to end the state of emergency in August, but that the decision depends on if cases begin to increase again.

The state of emergency expires on August 13. The House of Assembly suspended until September 22.

Asked if he thought it wise for the government to end the state of emergency without any legislation to replace it, Sands said, “Obviously, that (having legislation) would be ideal.

“If such is not yet in place and there are persons who believe that the existing legislation is robust enough to suffice, then legislators might be asked to consider legislation for the path moving forward,” he said.

“That legislation will obviously not be as explicit or specific as the individually written emergency order of the day. It changes sometimes every day.”

Bethel has said his office is nearly finished drafting a bill that would replace the emergency order put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

While there has been a decrease in the number of new reported COVID-19 infections in recent weeks, officials say deaths and hospitalizations remain high. 

The country is currently in a third wave of infections. There have been 12,407 COVID-19 cases recorded in the country.

The Bahamas has been under a state of emergency since March 2020, shortly after the country recorded its first case of COVID-19.

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018. Education: College of The Bahamas, English

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