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08 Apr 2020 | 12:44 AM UTC

Bahamas: Additional restrictions for shopping introduced as of April 6 /update 4

Bahamian authorities introduce a food shopping schedule amid current 24-hour curfew as of April 6; photo identification required

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Event

The Office of the Prime Minister of the Bahamas has released a food shopping schedule which is in effect as of Monday, April 6, with nationwide restrictions due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The schedule provides the days of the week and the times which the public can go food shopping based on the first letter of their last name. Individuals with disabilities and persons of 60 years of age or older have been given an additional window on Tuesdays from 06:00 to 12:00 (local time), as well as the days and times assigned to their surnames. The full food shopping schedule can be seen on this website. Authorities advised each household to identify a single shopper and warned that individuals are required to provide photo identification to show proof of their last name.

The government recently extended the current 24-hour, 7-day curfew at least until Tuesday, April 14. During this period, members of the public are permitted to leave their homes unless they are buying essential items. A lockdown between 21:00 (local time) and 05:00 will remain in place. Essential workers are exempted from the curfew restrictions. A state of emergency remains in place throughout the country and airports are operating on a limited basis.

Under the state of emergency, all non-essential businesses are temporarily closed, while markets, banks, pharmacies, gas stations, and other businesses will operate on reduced hours. Some major hotels and other tourist facilities have suspended operations through April. All sporting events, large gatherings, banquets, and receptions are prohibited. Public bus transportation and non-essential boat travel is also suspended.

As of April 7, 29 cases of COVID-19 and one fatality has been confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.