Grand Bahama goes into lockdown as COVID-19 cases soar

Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Dr Hubert Minnis, speaking at a press conference declared a lockdown for the country’s northernmost island, Grand Bahama on Thursday. (Photo: OpsGroup.org)

The Government of the Bahamas has, since Thursday night (July 23), placed one island, Grand Bahama, under lockdown as cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) see a troubling spike in the past two days.

The initial period of the lockdown will last for 14 days and will be reviewed on Friday, August 7, according to a statement from the Bahamian Office of the Prime Minister.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Bahamas confirmed 55 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the national tally to 274. Of that number, 170 cases are active, 91 patients have recovered and 11 persons have died from coronavirus-related complications.

Photo: Facebook @OPMBS

Under provisions of the Emergency Powers Order 2020, no person except an indicated essential worker will be allowed to leave their place of residence for any purpose other than seeking urgent medical attention.

Additionally, all air and seaports have been ordered closed for travel, however, these ports will remain operational to accept the carriage of charge by sea or land.

Grand Bahama will go into lockdown today, Thursday 23 July, starting at 7pm. Read the full Emergency Lockdown Order here: https://bit.ly/39neyTD

Posted by Office of the Prime Minister – The Bahamas on Thursday, July 23, 2020

Grand Bahama, the northernmost island within the commonwealth country, accounts for 120 cases and leads in the total number of cases confirmed across the Bahamas, according to the local ministry of health’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Most concerning for officials is that fact that new infections in the last 22 days eclipses the total number of cases recorded at the outset of the pandemic up to June 30.

Since the Bahamas reopened its borders to international commercial carriers on July 1, there have been 170 new infections.

The country has since banned all travel from the United States a day earlier on July 22.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, in an address to the Bahamian people on Sunday, said the decision comes as the country confirmed 15 new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at the time, bringing the national total to 153.

It was a stark contrast to the 104 confirmed cases the Bahamas had when it decided to reopen its international borders earlier this month, with the 49 new infections recorded since leading to a reversal of the Minnis administration’s mandate.