PM QUARANTINES: Turnquest also in isolation and staff urged to follow suit


Tribune Staff Reporter

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest voluntarily entered self-quarantine “out of an abundance of caution” yesterday after someone who works at the Cecil Wallace-Whitfield Centre tested positive for COVID-19.

The news came as the country recorded forty-four new cases of the virus, including 26 on New Providence, ten on Grand Bahama, two on Abaco and one on Inagua.

Inagua’s first case comes days after Dr Minnis announced that restrictions there and on several other islands will be removed and that limited inter-island travel will resume given the absence of cases there.

In addition to Dr Minnis and Mr Turnquest, Education Minister Jeff Lloyd also entered self-quarantine this week despite a negative test result for the virus. He was tested after being exposed to a positive case.

Cabinet Office’s statement yesterday said the Ministry of Health’s Surveillance Unit has initiated contact tracing “to determine the level of exposure to employees and visitors” to the Cecil Wallace-Whitfield Centre.

“At this point there has been no confirmation that the prime minister or the deputy prime minister has been exposed,” the statement said. “Out of an abundance of caution, the prime minister and the deputy prime minister will voluntarily enter into self-quarantine until further instructions from the Ministry of Health.”

Other employees at the centre have been encouraged to quarantine as well.

In an interview with ZNS yesterday, Dr Minnis said he is feeling well.

“I was told that an individual in the office, not my immediate vicinity but in my complex, tested positive and staff members may have communicated with that person and subsequently entered in my office and therefore out of an abundance of caution they just asked me to quarantine until further notice. I feel 100 percent fit, well. I followed doctor’s orders, came home and since I was unable to exercise, I just completed coming off of treadmill, ensuring that I stayed in shape to continue to guide us through this COVID infection or pandemic.”

After one of his aides tested positive for COVID-19 last month, Mr Turnquest self-quarantined despite his own negative test result. Dr Minnis, meanwhile, has been tested at least once for the virus. He tested negative while planning a trip to Grand Bahama in mid-May.

Both men plan to work and carry out their duties while under quarantine.