Bahamas gov't urges citizens to cooperate with health officials to flatten COVID curve

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Bahamas gov't urges citizens to cooperate with health officials to flatten COVID curve

Saturday, August 01, 2020

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NASSAU, Bahamas (CMC)— The Bahamas government has urged citizens to cooperate fully with health officials in their bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as the country recorded 66 new cases of the virus, bringing the total to 574.

Health Minister Renward Wells said that contact tracing was a necessary step in the fight against the virus that has killed more than half a million people worldwide and infected nearly 17 million others.

“Contact surveillance is a time-tested public health strategy that breaks the chain of transmission and limits the spread of infections. Contact tracing, though, is heavily dependent on individual honesty,” Wells said, urging everyone to be honest and open when contacted by the COVID-19 Surveillance Team.

“We beg you not to refuse to answer calls, block calls, or purposely lose contact with Surveillance Officers, and not to provide untruthful accounts of activities. If you have been directed to self-isolate or self-quarantine, please do so – without exception.”

Wells said that when positive COVID-19 patients and others who may have come in contact with them are not cooperative, the risks for the spread of disease is higher and health officials are not able to make critical decisions to stop the virus in its tracks.

“This means the general public will experience more lockdowns and restricted activities. As we ramp up testing, more persons will be found to be COVID-19 positive,” he said.

Wells said that based on information available to the Ministry of Health, the initial confirmed cases of the second wave of COVID-19 is connected to individuals from Grand Bahama who travelled from the United States.

“Our information also leads us to conclude that the increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases is connected to the social activities among Bahamians – funerals, weddings, and home parties.

“For example, individuals from Grand Bahama, New Providence, and Bimini, all attended a particular funeral and within a single incubation period, there were increased numbers of cases on those islands.Let me be frank, while there is no way to ensure zero risk of infection of COVID-19, doing all that we can to minimize risks and stay safe requires personal responsibility,” Wells said, adding that individuals should not socialize with people who do not live with them, not engage in activities that do not respect the protocols of social distancing and wearing masks, as there is no way for them to know who is infected.

He noted that with the impending threat of Hurricane Isaias, the government has relaxed some restrictions to facilitate hurricane preparations.

“This time should be used to do all that you can to preserve life and property. I strongly advise all Bahamians and residents not to squander it on gatherings and parties that ripen conditions for the spread of COVID-19.”

The health minister said people should wear a face mask whenever they leave their homes and especially when you are around other people.

“Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 70 per cent alcohol. Always cover your cough or sneeze in your inner elbow or with a tissue,” he said, adding “this is the only way we can consistently bend and eventually flatten the contagion curve”.

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