Prime Minister Minnis addresses Commonwealth COVID-19 Virtual Leaders Meeting

The Bahamas’ place among the highest burden countries for non-communicable diseases has impacted the country’s COVID-19 experience, said Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis.

Prime Minister Minnis was speaking on Wednesday 24 June at The Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Virtual Leaders Meeting, held under the theme, “Sharing solutions in challenging times.” Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Darren Henfield, and Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, special adviser to the Prime Minister on COVID-19, also attended the virtual meeting.

“All COVID-19 related deaths in The Bahamas occurred with patients having one or more comorbidities,” the Prime Minister told the Commonwealth leaders.

Half (50 percent) of the cases with one or more comorbidities required hospitalizations, compared to 29 percent of patients with no comorbidities who required hospitalization.

Seventy-one percent of the cases (44 cases) with no comorbidities did not require hospitalization while 42.9 percent of the patients with one or more comorbidities who were hospitalized died. None of the patients hospitalized with no comorbidities died from COVID-19.

To date, The Bahamas has recorded a total of 104 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

There have been no new confirmed cases recorded for the past 10 days on New Providence, 41 days since a case was recorded on Grand Bahama and 35 days on the island of Bimini.

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on any of the remaining 23 major islands, said the Prime Minister.

“Notwithstanding that we are still rebuilding after Hurricane Dorian, our response to COVID-19 has been quick, strategic and informed,” said Prime Minister Minnis. “We have had a total of 11 deaths, a limited number of hospitalizations and adequate ICU beds over the course of the 99 days.”

The consistent integration of public health and other policy measures, such as national curfews and lockdowns have been pivotal in The Bahamas’ success to date, said the Prime Minister.

He said the Bahamian people are as much to credit as the measures.

“As we look to the future, cognizant that COVID-19 is not behind us and is still very much a looming threat, we proceed with the relaxation of restrictions with cautious optimism,” said Prime Minister Minnis.

He noted that while the return of Bahamian nationals and residents from abroad and the phased re-opening of borders carry inherent risks, The Bahamas must exact a balance with the economic welfare of the country and the health and well-being of the people.

Noting that The Bahamas must now also prepare for hurricane season, Prime Minister Minnis urged the Commonwealth community not to relax efforts to combat climate change.

“It is only through global and regional solidarity that we can effectively address climate change, natural disasters, pandemics and other health crises in order to promote a more equitable, just, peaceful and environmentally sustainable global commons,” said the Prime Minister.