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Though some want a return to normalcy, Family Islands will remain under curfew

Family Islands with no cases of COVID-19 will likely remain under the 24-hour curfew in the short-term, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday.

Some residents on islands with no cases have asked whether the government might consider allowing them to resume normal day-to-day activities while keeping ports of entry closed to prevent the import of cases to the islands.

“We are looking at this in a very granular way and we will take advice to the relevant persons and at that point, we’ll see changes in the Family Islands, but we certainly have not made any recommendations like that as yet,” he said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian.

Sands said he expects some decisions to relax some of the measures on islands with no cases may come over the next few days.

Pressed on the issue later in the day during a virtual press conference at the Ministry of Health, Sands said, “It shouldn’t be too much longer.”

Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, health consultant to the prime minister, said one of the concerns is the ability of officials to properly monitor Family Island borders.

“It is unnecessary to have the curfew in those territories provided their borders are not violated,” she said.

“We have some very porous borders, and once that is adequately policed, I would recommend that they not be subjected to the curfew that you have in Grand Bahama and in Nassau.”

Sands said the government understands the impact measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 has on people and the economy, but it must be balanced with an effective public health approach.

“That’s a Cabinet decision that will have to be made,” he told The Guardian.

“We certainly don’t advise that as yet, but we are looking at all of these things to make a determination of when is the right time or an appropriate or safe time to make certain changes.

“We are very mindful of the impact on people, on commerce and we have to balance that with the public health considerations.”

There are 54 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas.

Nine people have died of the disease.

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