Monday, January 25, 2021

US Media Wrongly Reports on COVID-19 Infections in the Bahamas. But Ministry Steps In

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has had to correct Channel 10 Miami News broadcast when television broadcasters incorrectly reported the coronavirus numbers in the Bahamas while warning Americans of traveling to the country based on Centers for Disease Control’s travel advisory for the Bahamas.

What happened and why it matterscovid19

  • The reporter said that there were 7,460 COVID-19 cases reported in the Bahamas on Tuesday, when in fact the number for that day was 29. The 7,460-figure referred to in the broadcast was the total number of cases recorded in the Bahamas to that date. The news story was repeated on several social media outlets and at least one local news station.
  • The incorrect reporting can adversely affect the country’s already ailing tourism industry as officials move to increase tourism numbers.

The big picture

The US government’s recent advisory is at a level 4, ‘very high level,’ warning its citizens that they should avoid all travel to the Bahamas, as travel “may increase their chances of getting and spreading COVID-19.” US travel advisories are issued at various levels for all countries around the world. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says such advisories are normal and are done in accordance with US regulations.

What the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did to correct the error

  • One report suggested that the Ministry took no action to correct this mistake made by Channel 10 and the Ministry’s leadership in Miami was called into question.
  • The Bahamas Consul-General in Miami “immediately and appropriately” contacted Channel 10 to point out the error. Channel 10 subsequently made a retraction the same day.
  • Furthermore, the Consul-General provided Channel 10 with the correct statistics for the Bahamas. The correction is on the website of Channel 10 and states, “Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that 7,460 cases of COVID-19 had been reported on Tuesday. That number is, in fact, the total number of cases that have been confirmed in the Bahamas to date. We regret this error.”

Worth noting

  • COVID-19 infections are actually trending downward based on the release of the latest statistics. Thirteen new cases were confirmed by health officials on Thursday:
    • New Providence–8
    • Grand Bahama–3
    • Abaco–1
    • Exuma–1

Featured Image: Tribune

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