Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis today in a live update on COVID-19 announced three more confirmed cases of the virus and plans to extend the state of emergency until 8 April.
This brings to 14 the total number of COVID-19 cases confirmed to date. Two have been confirmed in Grand Bahama and the remaining cases are on New Providence.
Two of the COVID-positive individuals have been admitted to Doctor’s Hospital, Blake Road. All other cases are doing well, said Prime Minister Minnis.
“We have seen a doubling of confirmed cases over the last four days. We anticipate more cases in a short period of time over the coming 20 days,” said the Prime Minister.
“This means we must increase our efforts to restrict the spread of this virus and to save lives.”
Prime Minister Minnis said that the Ministry of Health’s Surveillance Unit has started the process of mapping COVID-19 cases to help identify clusters of cases and to inform the Ministry’s strategy to mitigate the spread of the virus in communities.
This will help to identify cases early and decrease the need for hospital-based services, said the Prime Minister.
“It is critical that each and every one of us take personal responsibility and do everything in our power to reduce the spread of this virus,” said Prime Minister Minnis.
“The Government will continue to closely monitor the increases in cases on a daily basis and respond accordingly.”
The Prime Minister explained that the Government’s response to COVID-19 is guided by the analysis and advice provided by the health professionals coordinating the response to the coronavirus.
When the House of Assembly meets tomorrow, MPs are expected to deal with a Resolution that will ask for approval for the continuance of a state of emergency inclusive of the emergency powers and authority in the two orders, extending the Emergency Proclamation for an additional eight days to 8 April.
“We must avoid speculation and rely on health officials to continue to advise where the country is in the fight against COVID-19,” said Prime Minister Minnis.
“As Prime Minister and as a medical doctor I will act based on the facts and the best medical and scientific information possible.”
To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, additional measures will be introduced, said Prime Minister Minnis.
Individuals aged 75 and older are asked not to leave their homes. Those between the ages of 65 and 74 should work from home.
Each household should have one designated shopper, said the Prime Minister.
Grocery stores with the capability will be encouraged to activate online shopping platforms to reduce the number of people having to come into their stores for food and supplies and the length of time customers have to spend in the store.
The Government will introduce a food shopping schedule. Shopping days and times will be designated based on the first letter of person’s last name. More details will be released this week, said Prime Minister Minnis.
“This measure is intended to reduce the number of people on the road and to reduce the number of people at grocery stores at any one time,” said the Prime Minister who stressed that the country’s food supplies are well stocked and that there is no need for panic buying.
Pharmacies will be allowed to operate from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Landscaping and property maintenance businesses and janitorial service businesses will be allowed to operate on Saturday and Sunday only.
Pool maintenance businesses will be allowed to operate on Friday and Saturday only.
All street or roadside vendors will be prohibited from operating. This does not include newspaper vendors who should remain at one location.
All public parks will be closed effective 9am Tuesday, 31 March.
“For us to overcome as a country we must work as one united citizen army in this fight,” said Prime Minister Minnis. “We are now a citizen army, fighting this threat together.”