NASSAU, Bahamas – The Bahamas government says it will implement two additional weekend lockdowns as the country continues to record increases in the number of cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health said that 65 new cases had been confirmed, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases to 447.
It said that there were now 211 cases in Grand Bahama, 180 in New Providence, 21 in Bimini and nine cases in Moore’s Island and Great Guana Cay. The other islands, namely Berry Islands, Cat Cay, Cat Island, Exuma, and Abaco, had between one and four cases.
A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said that with the rise in cases of COVID-19 and after consultation with local health officials and a review of the response of other jurisdictions due to the current global rise in cases, it has decided to implement two additional weekend lockdowns.
The statement said that these measures are being implemented to protect the lives and health of Bahamians and residents and that the Hubert Minnis administration will undertake a “careful review of the health data after these two lockdown periods.
“The lockdown this coming weekend begins at 7 p.m., Friday, 31 July to 5 a.m., Tuesday, 4 August 2020 for all islands of The Bahamas, excluding Grand Bahama, where a complete lockdown is currently in place,” the statement said, noting that food stores, gas stations, pharmacies and water depots will be permitted to operate on Saturday for an 11 hour period. The second lockdown will begin at 7 PM on August 7 to 5 AM on August 10.
The government said during the lockdowns, food store workers required to restock after curfew from Monday to Friday and during Saturday over a lockdown weekend, may seek permission from the Commissioner of Police to travel to and from their residence and workplace only.
“All individuals wishing to leave the country during the lockdown either by air or by boat may do so.
Religious services may be held virtually. Live streaming is permitted between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from a religious facility, provided that no more than 10 people participate from the facility.”
The authorities said that during the lockdown, exercise is permitted within the confines of an individual’s yard only.
“A lockdown means that no individual, except an essential worker, is permitted to leave their place of residence for any purpose, other than to seek urgent medical care or as outlined above.
“The government of The Bahamas again reminds Bahamians and residents that wearing masks, physical distancing and thorough handwashing are essential measures in limiting the spread of COVID-19. The cooperation of every Bahamian and resident is vital to protect the general health and the general welfare,” the statement said.
It said that while it is aware that a tropical weather system may affect The Bahamas over the coming weekend, it is being watched closely and the necessary authorities will update the country during the coming hours.