COVID-19: The Bahamas under 24-hour lock down due to coronavirus
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister of The Bahamas.
From 9 am on Tuesday, The Bahamas went into a 24-hour lockdown to prevent local transmissions of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
In an address to the nation on Monday night, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis explained that these measures are necessary to save lives.
He said: “As Prime Minister, as a medical doctor and as a former Minister of Health, who has had to deal with deadly viruses before, I had to act decisively and quickly to protect the Bahamian people.”
“During this crisis, we put in place emergency orders as soon as possible. But now, we must do even more in order to save lives. We are in a race against time.”
Persons exempt from the curfew are media workers and anyone employed in an essential service such as police officers. All other work must be done from home.
Bahamians will be allowed to conduct shopping at gas stations, groceries and pharmacies and they can conduct business at the bank.
Persons will also be allowed to venture out of their properties, with people from the household, for exercise that must not exceed one and a half hours per day. They must also have a distance of six feet between them at all times.
All these activities must be completed between 5 am and 9 pm.
The 24-hour curfew lasts until March 31.
Additionally, all air and seaports have been closed to regional and international visitors unless they receive written permission.
The Prime Minister pleaded with citizens to adhere to safety warnings since it may cost them their lives.
He said: “We are still learning about COVID- 19, which is an enemy to our lives and our livelihoods. While the emergency orders are difficult for some, it is better to do what we need to do now, rather than paying a greater and heavier price later.”
“Too many Bahamians have not taken this threat seriously enough. Many people still don’t understand the toll this virus is taking on other countries. To stop COVID-19 from spreading, each of us is a soldier or warrior in this battle. Our personal and collective behaviour is the best way to fight this threat. Do not invite people over to your homes to socialise.”
“Do not hang out with friends. Do not have house parties. If you do not heed the warnings, you could catch this virus. It could kill you. You could spread it to your friends and families and it could kill them too. By listening to our advice you will save your life and that of your friends and family. I want to speak directly and clearly to every young Bahamian. You are not immune to this virus,” Minnis added.