UPDATE: Dr. Hubert Minnis in self-quarantine
Out of an abundance of caution, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest will voluntarily enter into self-quarantine until further instructions from the Ministry of Health, according to Cabinet Office, which confirmed OPM has been shut down due to Covid-19 exposure.
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
At this point there has been no confirmation that the Prime Minister or the Deputy Prime Minister have been exposed, according to the statement released Tuesday afternoon.
“Other employees of the Cecil Wallace-Whitfield Centre are encouraged to self-quarantine until further instructions are issued by the Ministry of Health”.
COVID-19 has hit the Office of the Prime Minister sending employees running for the hills.
Insiders told the Gallery today that employees were sent home until further notice after two of their colleagues tested positive for the coronavirus.
One of those covid positive employees is from Grand Bahama but is in New Providence to work with Kay Forbes-Smith, Managing Director of the Disaster Reconstruction Authority.
“Everyone running out of the office after possible exposure to COVID-19. Staff were told not to return until further notice,” said one OPM employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Employees are also fearful because the husband and child of one of their colleagues tested positive for the virus but she continued to report to work.
They revealed that Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis hasn’t been in the office in about two weeks and neither has Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest whose office is also in the building located on West Bay Street.
Employees say the Permanent Secretary did not want them working from OPM during the lockdown but his superiors were not in agreement with that decision so staff were still reporting to work up until this point.
Last month, OPM staff were sent home early in order for the building to be sanitized. Employees were never given an explanation.
As of Monday, there were 945 cases of coronavirus in The Bahamas. 420 of those cases are on New Providence. There were three new cases on the island yesterday.