More restrictions on the way in the Bahamas

By Rumi Samuel Published on December 30, 2021
More restrictions on the way in the Bahamas

As it confirmed that The Bahamas is now facing the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections, Minister of Health Dr Michael Darville said yesterday that the government is seeking to increase restrictions to help curb the spread of the virus. 

“We are tightening restrictions,” Darville told reporters outside Cabinet.

“It’s important for us to assess the data. The decisions that the government and the Ministry of Health would make are directly related to the data we would see.”

Darville noted that, so far, the Omicron variant seems less likely to result in hospitalizations than the Delta variant. However, he said the high rate of transmissibility remains a concern.

Though hundreds of new cases have been recorded in The Bahamas since last week, 18 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the country — significantly fewer than the nearly 200 hospitalizations seen in early September during the peak of the third wave.

“We are pleased with what we have seen so far with the [hospitalization] numbers to where they are today,” Darville said.

“We are hoping and praying that what is happening across the globe is going to be reflective of what’s going on in The Bahamas.

“But, with that being said, we are making the necessary preparations if we do see a surge of individuals coming to our emergency room and the ability to prevent bottlenecks and provide appropriate measures so that we can take care of individuals who do have issues as it relates to the COVID virus.”

Darville said several staff members have already been exposed to COVID.

“As it stands right now, at the Princess Margaret Hospital, we have about 16 to 18 patients with COVID,” he said.

“We have some challenges because some of the wards and some of the doctors and nurses have been exposed, which has affected our manpower resources.”

Darville said it is now time to move into additional steps in their plans to be able to function effectively.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is set to hold a press conference today.

After it was announced that 330 COVID cases were recorded in The Bahamas on Christmas Day, setting a new daily record, the government announced that no approvals would be given for large events and that existing approvals had been suspended.

However, when asked yesterday how those rules will impact events planned at resorts, Darville said the government is discussing the best way forward.

“The rules apply across the board but, with our hotels, you must realize that the majority of them are practically full, and there has to be some activity for their guests, including the restaurants,” Darville said.

“We are in deep communications with them because we are in the middle of a pandemic, and we have the Omicron variant here, and we know it’s highly transmissible.

“And so, they are working along with the government but I want to say that the rules as it relates to mass gatherings apply across the board.”

Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe also said yesterday that hotels running their facilities will still be allowed to do so, noting that a mass event includes those that require a temporary license from the commissioner of police.

As the New Year’s Day weekend approaches, Munroe said police are “well-equipped” to shut down any unapproved parties. 

Rumi Samuel

Rumi Samuel

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