Dr. Minnis Announces a ‘Complete Lockdown.’ Here’s What It Means?
The Bahamas has had it shares of lockdowns since the rise in coronavirus cases. But this one is different.
Before, Bahamians had access to essential services like grocery stores and pharmacies, while non-essential services remained closed. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays were allotted for shopping only.
Now, a 7-day complete lockdown is in effect for Grand Bahama and New Providence where COVID-19 cases have taken a toll.
What is a complete lockdown?
A ‘complete lockdown’ or ‘full lockdown,’ as it is sometimes referred, is the requirement by people to remain at home due to risk of the coronavirus to themselves and others, if they move freely.
All grocery stores, water depots, gas stations and private pharmacies are closed. Only public healthcare, hospitals and private medical facilities are opened for emergencies. Businesses and commercial activities will be closed.Construction will be permitted. International shipping, freight forwarders and domestic freight will be permitted to continue, but goods and supplies must be stored.
Anyone required to be on the streets must contact 311 for permission. Violators will be fined.
Why a complete lockdown?
Health indicators on New Providence show a high number of new cases, increased hospitalizations and increase in deaths.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said if further restrictive measures are not taken to control and to slow the spread of COVID-19 on New Providence at this time, it will take a long time to bring the virus under control.
Dr. Minnis said, “The sooner we bring the virus under control the shorter the time will be to return to few restrictive measures. Unfortunately, too many people are not taking the current lockdowns and health measures seriously.
“Some people are gathering in groups in their neighborhoods. Some are going out when unnecessary. Some are notfollowing health guidelines when out in public. Some are going out visiting friends and family.”
Dr. Minnis added that some people are engaging in socials and parties, and said the virus is spreading rapidly because of the failure of many people to adhere to life-saving and preventative measures.
What would people do who depend on the food distribution program?
Recipients of the National Food Distribution Task Force will continue to obtain food from the specified distribution program on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as previously scheduled.
Only one person, per family is required for pickup of food packages.
The Royal Bahamas Police Force will have lists by zones of all the recipients of the programme who have registered, and will check vehicles to ensure that only one representative per household goes to the specific distribution centre.
Would a complete lockdown guarantee lowered virus cases?
A complete lockdown will allow health officials to evaluate and monitor the spread of COVID-19 on New Providence, and will assist with slowing the spread of the virus.
At the end of the lockdown period, which is August 25th, officials will assess the data to help inform the way forward, and will report on the impact of the lockdown.