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Do not Politicise OMICRON warns the WHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

February 9, 2022 – It has been almost five weeks since the Omicron variant was reported in South Africa for the first time. Since then, we have had 90 million new COVID infections. To give you some perspective, that’s more cases than were recorded in the entire year of 2020.

MSN reports that as countries in Europe like Denmark, France, and England, WHO Chief Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus is saying slow down.

“We are concerned that a narrative has taken hold in some countries that because of vaccines — and because of omicron’s high transmissibility and lower severity — preventing transmission is no longer possible and no longer necessary,” he said at a recent COVID19 briefing.

The chief added that nothing was further from the truth and it was premature for any country to declare victory or give up on COVID.

The WHO says four of its six global regions are seeing an increase in deaths, this includes the Caribbean region, where at one point during the past 10 weeks deaths rose over 30 per cent.

“Every country has to find its feet, know where it is, know where it wants to go, and chart its path … You can look at what other countries are doing. But please don’t just follow blindly what every other country is doing,” said WHO Emergencies Chief, Dr. Michael Ryan.

He warned that while countries with higher vaccination rates have more choices when it comes to easing restrictions they should assess certain factors like their current epidemiology, at-risk populations, immunity in the population, and access to health care tools to fight the pandemic.

At the same time, the omicron sub-variant, BA2, also called ‘stealth omicron’, has been found in at least 30 US states including California, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington. What is concerning about BA2 is that it appears to be more transmissible than the BA1 subtype, but this has not yet been confirmed.

In the midst of this, the South African government has decided that asymptomatic people who are positive with Covid-19 will no longer have to isolate, vaccinated or not, and contacts of positives no longer have to isolate. South Africa’s policy is considered to be extreme, given the country’s low vaccination rate.

Despite still high numbers of hospitalization across the country, Canada has begun to loosen COVID-19 restrictions allowing residents to dine indoors at restaurants and access movie theaters, gyms, and museums – all services that were closed or reduced after the emergence of omicron, but they will only be accessible at half capacity

Ryan said he was concerned that, “political pressure will result in people in some countries opening prematurely and that will result in unnecessary transmission, unnecessary severe disease and unnecessary death.”

Bahamas News

Bahamas as Caribbean top 2024 Spring Destination

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Bahamas#Tourism, February 23rd, 2024 – The Bahamas has been categorized as the most popular Caribbean destination for travel in the upcoming spring season by travel insurance company Squaremouth, in a new report. It was the only Caribbean nation to make the list for the top 10 destinations. The report is derived from travel insurance purchases made through Squaremouth.

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Bahamas News

Regional Soldiers head to Jamaica to train for pending Haiti mission

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Rashaed Esson

Staff  Writer

 

#Haiti#KenyaMultinationalForce#CARICOM, February 22nd, 2024 – About 150 Bahamian soldiers are heading to Jamaica within the next one or two weeks for a joint training with Jamaican soldiers, in preparation for the pending Kenya led multinational force mission to Haiti according to Bahamian Defense Chief Commodore, Raymond King, in reports. Soldiers and security forces from Chile and Argentina will also travel to Jamaica for the training.

King informs that Kenya and Haiti are in the process of signing off on an agreement to allow Kenya to lead the force into Haiti, following advice from Kenya’s High Court which recently deemed Kenya’s decision to deploy police officers to the gang run nation as unconstitutional. This agreement includes a formal request for assistance from Haiti, allowing Kenya to legally intervene on the ground.

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Bahamas News

Major plans for The Bahamas announced Davis

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Bahamas#Development,February 22nd, 2024 – “Things are changing in The Bahamas,” were the words of Prime Minister Philip Davis as he outlined some of the Government’s plans to improve the nation through a decrease in the cost of living, enhanced security for Bahamians and the expansion of access to opportunities. Davis, who was presenting on February 21st, the Bahamas Mid-Year Review of the fiscal performance for the fiscal year 2023/2024, highlighted a long list of plans for the archipelago.

Here’s the full list stated in Davis’ address :

  • A new energy policy and an expansion of renewable energy, including microgrids, and an emphasis on engaging local Bahamian firms and building local professional capacity; 
  • An expansion of Bahamian ownership in our economy, including support for entrepreneurs, small and medium sized enterprises, and an expansion of affordable housing –with hundreds of families moving into new homes by this summer; 
  • A modern and award-winning specialized tourism product, with new investments across our archipelago, and major visibility and branding campaigns in New York, Florida, and the UK;
  • Progress on redeveloping downtown Nassau, long overdue;
  • New commitments to education, including a Parental Engagement Unit; more teacher training, modernizing the curriculum, classroom enhancements, improving school attendance, and using the Renaissance testing results to design individualized support for students; 
  • An expansion of technical and vocational training, including certification at the high school level;
  • An Empower Grand Bahama micro-grant programme for entrepreneurs; $1.5 billion in investments for Grand Bahama in the pipeline; the Beautiful Grand Bahama programme, in which collaboration has led to safer communities; and Collab Grand Bahama, which fosters partnerships between the government and the private sector to bring change and progress to Grand Bahama;
  • Major upgrades to our health infrastructure;
  • More support for our athletes and sports programmes;
  • We’re on track to pave 65 miles of road in New Providence alone this year;
  • Investments in NIB to improve fairness and efficiency;
  • A National School Breakfast pilot programme, which is already giving thousands of our children breakfast in their primary schools, and is ready to expand;
  • New classes, camps, lessons, and programmes at our Urban Renewal Centres;
  • A Youth Guard to strengthen our capacity during national emergencies, and give more young Bahamians a path forward;
  • A Task Force addressing unregulated shantytowns in New Providence and Abaco, with other islands to follow;
  • The selection and training of new immigration officers;
  • Saturation patrols and new investments and collaboration in crime prevention; 
  • A juvenile detention facility;
  • A cadre of officers trained to recognize and manage psychiatric issues;
  • Stronger partnerships and new patrol vessels to secure our nation’s borders; 
  • Major new investments across our Family Islands, including new airports, and road paving in Andros, Bimini, Cat Island, Abaco, Long Island; Great Harbour Cay, and Crooked Island;
  • The development of our nation’s blue carbon credits strategy; and
  • A major investment in agriculture and national food security.

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