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PRESS RELEASE: ZIKA VIRUS RECORDED IN TURKS AND CAICOS

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Mosquito-borne diseases like Dengue, Chikungunya and the recent emergence of Zika virus has been of serious concern in the Caribbean region including the Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

The Turks and Caicos Government in partnership with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO), the Airport Authority, Tourist Board, Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association, TCI Hospital and other local and regional stakeholders has taken extensive measures to protect our residents and visitors from the threat of diseases.

 

The Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Human Services has held several joint high level meetings with our regional and local partners to ensure that all available resources are accumulated and every measure possible is taken to ensure that our country implements the strongest possible Zika virus preparedness and response plan to address this issue. Thus far, the following steps have been taken:

 

  • Increased countrywide clean up campaigns, fogging exercises and premises inspections;
  • Expanded surveillance efforts;
  • Provided regular training sessions and situational updates to health professionals; and
  • Stepped up public awareness campaigns.

 

Since 2007, 65 countries have reported cases of Zika. Of the 65 countries, approximately 22 countries are located in the Caribbean region. As of Friday, July 22, 2016, the Turks and Caicos Islands has recorded 5 cases of Zika Virus. Three (3) of these cases are associated with a recent history of travel to areas where cases of Zika has been reported. The other 2 are being investigated. To date, there is no epidemiological evidence of in country transmission associated with the two non-travel related cases. Measures have been taken to ensure that these cases are managed and contained, and all affected persons are recovering.

 

Zika is a viral illness, which is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. This mosquito is found throughout the Americas, including the TCI. Most persons who contract Zika are often not aware that they have the illness as they may not have any symptoms. Symptoms of Zika are similar to Dengue and Chikungunya and appear between four to seven days after someone has been bitten by an infected mosquito. These symptoms include mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye), muscle or joint pain, and general malaise.

 

There is no specific medication to treat Zika and there are currently no vaccines to prevent the illness. However, symptoms of Zika can be managed by:

 

  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Drinking fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Taking medicines, such as acetaminophen, or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain.
  • Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aleve or Ibuprofen unless advised by a doctor.

 

The concern with Zika is a growing body of evidence regarding the connection between infection with Zika during pregnancy and possible abnormalities in the newborn. In addition, there has been an association with Zika and other neurological complications such as Guillain-Barre syndrome.

 

To protect yourself and your family, the Ministry advises persons in the TCI to take the following precautions:

 

  1. Prevent mosquito breeding in and around your home by keeping your environment clean (check your gutters and remove standing water from old flower vases, tires and other containers that might act as breeding sites such as water drums and barrels).
  2. Avoid being bitten by wearing loose long-sleeved shirts and long pants, applying insect repellents and using mosquito nets.
  3. Zika has been proven to be sexually transmitted therefore we recommend condom use.
  4. Pregnant women are advised to seek more information from their health provider at their next scheduled visit and not to travel to areas with Zika virus during pregnancy. If pregnant and you suspect that you have Zika, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
  5. Women and men who have been diagnosed with the Zika virus are advised to seek guidance from their health provider prior to planning a future pregnancy.

 

For more information, contact the Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Human Services on 338-3061 or 338-3058. The Ministry will keep the public informed with any new developments.

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Bahamas News

Over 68,000 STAYED HOME in Bahamas Elections; We have BEST and WORST for Voter Participation

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#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – The just-concluded General Election in Bahamas has presented a new shift in governance.  The former ruling part, Free National Movement, lost nearly all the electoral seats it secured in the 2017 general elections.  However, this seems a swap of the Progressive Liberal party’s score in the 2017 general elections in which the former ruling party (FNM) won nearly all the parliamentary seats.

68,000 STAYED AWAY

While the FNM secured 35 out of 39 seats in the 2017 ballot, leaving only four slots for the Opposition, the 2021 elections presented “new day” with the Opposition clinching 32 parliamentary seats, leaving the former ruling party FNM with only seven slots.

However, the election results showed a significant drop in voter turnout compared to the 2017 election results. Out of 194,494 registered voters in The Bahamas, only 126,414 voted, translating to 65 per cent voter turnout.

PREVIOUS ELECTION HIGHER

This was different from the previous election in which 160,407 out of 181,543 registered voters cast their ballots, translating to a remarkable 88.36 per cent voter turnout.

Being the first election in the island nation since the Covid-19 struck the Caribbean; the dismal voter turnout could be attributed to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in The Bahamas and the current countermeasures taken by individuals to avoid contracting the deadly virus.

It could also be voter apathy.

BEST IN SHOW

Despite coronavirus prevalence in the country, North Andros & Berry Islands, Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and Mangrove Cay & South Andros constituencies recorded an impressive voter turnout of 77.99 per cent, 76.11 per cent and 73.06 per cent respectively.

North Andros & Berry Islands had 2,126 out of 2,569 registered voters cast their ballots, followed by 1,255 out of 1,622 in Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and 1,706 out of 2,164 registered voters in Mangrove Cay & South Andros.

VERY LOW SHOW

The bottom three constituencies in terms of voter turnout include Bamboo Town, which had 3,436 out of 5,838 (58.63 per cent) registered voters cast their ballot, followed by Garden Hills with 3,033 out of 5,287 (57.09 per cent), and   Central & South Abaco falling at the bottom of the list with 1,844 out of 3,271 (55.96 per cent).

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Bahamas News

BAHAMAS: Nine new Cabinet ministers sworn-in

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#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis today introduced the first set of new Cabinet ministers with portfolios covering the Attorney General, Foreign Affairs, Education, Works and Public Utilities, Health and Wellness, Government Affairs, Agriculture, National Security and Legal Affairs.

The nine ministers were sworn-in on Monday 20 September 2021 by Governor-General the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith during ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Center.

“They are the initial members of a Cabinet which will reflect the breadth and depth of the competencies and characteristics of our team: experience combined with innovation; expertise combined with a willingness to see things anew; integrity and a strong sense of purpose,” said Prime Minister Davis.

“They are receiving these appointments because of their determination to get things done.”

Among the new Ministers sworn-in on Monday were:

  • Senator the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder, Attorney General;
  • Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service;
  • Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education, and Technical and Vocational Training;
  • Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Works and Utilities;
  • Dr. Hon. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness;
  • Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis, Minister of Government Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate;
  • Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs;
  • Hon. Wayne Munroe, Minister of National Security; and
  • Hon. Jomo Campbell, Minister of State for Legal Affairs.

“I am confident that these first-appointed members of our Cabinet team are ready to deliver on the promise of a New Day for our Bahamas,” said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Davis pledged to move with urgency to address the economic and health crises that are faced by The Bahamas.

Many thousands of Bahamians are out of work, people are losing too many loved ones to the COVID-19 virus and Bahamian schoolchildren are falling behind, said Prime Minister Davis.

“I want to be clear: we are not here to tinker at the edges of these problems,” said the Prime Minister.

“We are here to meet them head on.”

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Caribbean News

Sandals Resorts International Offers a Travel Industry-First with New Sandals Vacation Assurance Program Included in All Reservations

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Guests of Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts Book Worry-Free with new Flight Protection,
a Free Trip Replacement For the Unexpected and more 

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA, September 21, 2021 – Sandals Resorts International (SRI), the parent company of the Caribbean’s leading luxury all-inclusive resort brands Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts, announces the introduction of Sandals Vacation Assurance, the industry’s most comprehensive vacation protection program featuring an industry-first guarantee of a free replacement vacation including airfare for guests impacted by COVID-19 related travel interruptions.

According to SRI Executive Chairman Adam Stewart, the new Sandals Vacation Assurance Program is designed to take the worry out of travel, giving guests certainty that their investment in an all-inclusive luxury vacation is safeguarded from interruptions outside of their control. “We want to put the fun and joy of planning and anticipating a great vacation back into travel. While we recognize the real concerns that may weigh on our guests’ minds, we’re taking extraordinary measures to remove worry from the equation so travelers can delight in the entire travel journey – from booking to departure,” said Stewart.

All current and new reservations made now through December 31, 2021, for travel until December 31, 2022, will automatically receive the Sandals and Beaches Vacation Assurance Protection at no charge.

Benefits of the Sandals and Beaches Vacation Assurance Program:

  • Replacement Vacation if a trip is interrupted while on vacation – INCLUDED
  • Replacement airfare credit for US travelers, up to $500 per person on the replacement vacation – INCLUDED
  • Quarantine stays of up to 14 nights at no charge if required – INCLUDED
  • COVID-19 testing to meet any government requirement from the comfort of the resort – INCLUDED
  • Comprehensive Travel Protection Plan – Insurance is on US – INCLUDED
  • Cancel anytime reservation policy, without penalties or added fees – 31 days or more for a 100% refund or within 30 days for a future travel date
  • A Vacation Assurance Hotline should guests or travel advisors have any questions related to travel protocols or anything else related to COVID-19
  • Assurance of industry-leading Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness, implemented at all Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts, to ensure heightened health and safety measures throughout their stay

The Sandals Vacation Assurance protection program complements the health and wellbeing procedures of the Sandals Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness which were introduced last year and detail the hundreds of daily actions taken to fully safeguard the entire guest journey. Stewart added, “Throughout our 40-year history, and especially during difficult times, we have always put guests first. Combined with our proven track record of health and safety, our new Sandals Vacation Assurance Program is the guarantee our guests can count on. It’s another example that we will do whatever it takes to continue to earn their trust so they can focus on what truly matters: quality time in our beautiful Caribbean with the ones they love most.”

Certain restrictions apply. For more information, visit https://www.sandals.com/book-with-confidence/.

 

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