Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Bahamas to impose varied movement restrictions through April 30 to stem the spread of COVID-19. Other restrictions apply.

This alert affects Bahamas

This alert began 09 Apr 2020 08:46 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through April 30
  • Impact: Major commercial and transport disruptions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in the Bahamas have imposed varied movement restrictions across the islands through at least April 30, as part of the nation's efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The government has also mandated the use of face masks for individuals in public, as of April 9. The movement restriction orders include 24-hour curfews, when residents are only allowed to leave their homes to purchase groceries, medicine, and other essential supplies; as well as 24-hour lockdowns, when 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. During the lockdowns, all businesses are to be closed; only security, medical, and critical utility services, as well the media, will be allowed to operate. The movement restrictions schedule is as follows:

24-hour lockdowns

  • 2100 April 8-0500 April 14
  • 2100 17 April-0500 April 20
  • 2100 April 24-0500 April 27


24-hour curfews

  • 0500 April 14-2100 April 17
  • 0500 April 20-2100 April 24
  • 0500 April 27-2100 April 30


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 during the curfew hours, according to the first letter of their surnames:

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, and/or imprisonment.

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. 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

Government of Bahamas - COVID-19 Page: www.covid19.gov.bs