Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Bahamas to impose lockdown with movement restrictions April 8-14 to stem the spread of COVID-19. Other restrictions apply.

This alert affects Bahamas

This alert began 07 Apr 2020 09:17 GMT and is scheduled to expire 14 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through April 14
  • Impact: Major commercial and transport disruptions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in the Bahamas will impose a 24-hour lockdown with specified movement restrictions 2100 April 8-0500 April 14. This measure will replace the 24-hour curfew that officials enforced to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and which expires at 2100 April 8. Under the lockdown, residents may not leave the confines of their property for any reason, unless there is an emergency or if they are involved in the provision of essential services. The office of the Prime Minister has also announced a new shopping schedule which came into effect April 6 and will remain in place until further notice. The shopping measures restrict persons leaving their homes, according to the first letter of their surnames, as follows:

Surname beginning with A-F:

  • Mondays: 0600-1200
  • Wednesdays: 0600-1200
  • Thursdays: 1300-1900


Surname beginning with G-O:

  • Mondays: 1300-1900
  • Wednesdays: 1300-1900
  • Fridays: 0600-1200


Surname beginning with P-Z:

  • Tuesdays: 1300-1900
  • Thursdays: 0600-1200
  • Fridays: 1300-1900


Persons over the age of 60 and persons with disabilities may also shop Tuesdays from 0600-1200. Only one person per household will be allowed to participate in the shopping schedule and will be required to have an ID card on them. Failure to comply with the curfew will result in a fine, imprisonment, or both.

Officials have also canceled all international passenger flights to the country; pleasure craft are no longer allowed to dock at Bahamas' seaports. Other movement restrictions on domestic travel are also in place, including transportation by public bus and most gatherings of 10 or more people. Authorities may take additional measures in the coming days, especially if the spread of COVID-19 continues. The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport in the country, with larger than usual police presence in the streets. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int