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COVID-19 no joke, lockdown not party time – Archbishop warns fellow Bahamians



“You must not be lax. We cannot be casual. This is not a joke,” Archbishop Patrick Pinder of Nassau said in an eight-minute-long COVID-19 message to the people of The Bahamas on August 17 via YouTube channel Catholic Nassau.

He began his message outlining the rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases: on Thursday, August 13, the number of confirmed cases stood at 1,089, and 1,019 the following day. On Saturday cases were 1,252 and by Sunday 1,315. “What will it be today?” Archbishop Pinder questioned.

Reminding citizens of the protocols that have been circulating “time and time again” over the past five months, the Archbishop said that all persons ought to practise them. “We must be disciplined, consistent, committed and serious. This is what this time demands of each and every responsible citizen,” the Archbishop said.

Miamiherald.com reported Tuesday, August 18, that The Bahamas has shut down all public offices in its capital, banned all international flights except for emergencies, restricted hotels to essential staff only, and ordered journalists to first contact the police if they need to be out on the street. They’re all part of new controls the country began to slow the spread of COVID-19 in New Providence.

“With more than 1,100 active COVID-19 cases and its healthcare system on the verge of collapse, New Providence has to go under stricture measures for the next seven days, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis warned late Monday (August 17). The measures, he said, were to take effect immediately” the online news source stated.

A two-week lockdown of the country was announced August 3 and expired 5 a.m. Wednesday, August 19.

PM Minnis announced the new seven-day lockdown of New Providence, where Nassau is located, and another seven-day lockdown of Grand Bahama while confirming that opposition leader, Philip Brave Davis, had tested positive for the deadly disease and is among those hospitalised after contracting the virus.

As of August 22, The Bahamas recorded 1,610 COVID-19 cases, 211 recoveries and 23 deaths.

Archbishop Pinder observed while lockdowns and curfews are inconvenient and possibly even an imposition, these are for the good and safety of the nation.

“Let us see it in that light. Let us not give into irritation or impatience. Let us not permit our passions and emotions to undermine our wellbeing and the common good of us all,” he urged.

Lockdowns are not a holiday; they are not a time to gather for a party. Crowds not respecting physical distancing are the perfect opportunity for the virus to spread, the Archbishop said.

“We must not give the virus that opportunity, we must frustrate it, we must defeat it. We have gone through a lot over the past five months, yet the rising number of confirmed cases among us is telling us that there may be more that we need to do.”

To this end, he beseeched all to think about those who may be fearful, or in material need and reach out to them in ways that are safe, responsible and risk free.

The Archbishop also reminded all to not neglect to pray— pray for the nation, that it will be delivered from the scourge of this pandemic, for their national leaders that they be granted the wisdom, courage and compassion to lead well and wisely through this challenging time.

He also invited all to pray for those infected with COVID-19, “those well-known and those little known”, that they all be healed and for the nurses, physicians, and healthcare workers that they be protected from all harm.

Archbishop Pinder ended his message with these words of comfort and hope: “Know that in our efforts in this troubled time our loving, caring, protective Lord is with us in our midst, always, even now”.