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Pm Announces Travel Restrictions Amid Surge In Covid-19 Cases

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis delivers his address on Sunday.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis delivers his address on Sunday.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net 

GIVEN the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the country, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday banned all commercial flights and vessels from entering the country beginning on Wednesday with the exception of those coming from Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Dr Minnis also announced the closure of all beaches in New Providence, Paradise Island, Rose Island, Athol Island and its surrounding cays, which will take effect today at 5am. He also ordered the closure of Arawak Cay and Potter’s Cay restaurants, effective today.

The revelation came after Dr Minnis revealed 15 new COVID-19 cases, marking the country’s highest single day increase to date since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

During a sombre national address yesterday, Dr Minnis linked the spike of cases to the re-opening of the country’s borders.

The Minnis administration resumed international commercial travel on July 1 in a move officials said would help jumpstart the country’s tourism industry.

Since then, the Bahamas has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases — 49 new cases after July 1 — with the total number now standing at 153.

“Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy,” Dr Minnis said. “It has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders.

“…Fellow Bahamians and residents, as I have said before, our battle with COVID-19 will last for some time. We are in a marathon not a sprint. This is a marathon demanding discipline, endurance, demanding resilience and requiring determination.”

Noting that immediate measures must be taken to contain the COVID-19 threat, Dr Minnis yesterday reimposed a number of former restrictions, including a ban on commercial travel and the shutdown of certain restaurants.

Dr Minnis said the decisions were made after “heavy” consultation with health officials.

“International commercial flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers will not be permitted to enter our borders, except for commercial flights from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. This will come into effect as of Wednesday the 22nd of July 2020 at midnight,” he said.

“Bahamasair will cease outgoing flights to the United States of America, effective immediately.”

Dr Minnis said all outgoing commercial flights will be allowed in an effort to accommodate visitors scheduled to leave the country after Wednesday.

He added: “Private international flights and charters for Bahamians, residents and visitors will be permitted. Pleasure craft and yachts will also be permitted.

“All returning Bahamians, residents and visitors by air or sea from overseas will require a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result from an accredited lab. You will be required to present your documents to immigration officials upon arrival.

“These tests must be taken no later than ten days before the date of travel. All of these individuals must also have an approved health visa to enter the country. “

However, he said residents unable to produce a negative accredited COVID-19 test upon arrival will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and will also be monitored via the Hubbcat monitoring.

“For travellers who do not agree to Hubbcat monitoring or whose premises are not approved by the Ministry of Health for quarantine, they must quarantine at a government-identified facility at their own expense,” he noted.

“At the end of the quarantine period via Hubbcat or at the facility, COVID-19 testing will be required, also at the traveler’s expense. The government will not be responsible for arrangements with private employers.”

He said the quarantine period will be counted as vacation for public servants. If vacation time is not an option, the public servant’s salary will be deducted.

Meanwhile, Dr Minnis said that domestic travel will continue, with the exception of Grand Bahama. He reminded that domestic travellers must also complete an electronic health visa prior to departure at travel.gov.bs.

“Any airline or commercial sea vessel that permits a passenger to board without the required health visa will face a fine of $500 per passenger who is not in compliance,” he warned.

Dr Minnis said Arawak Cay, Potter’s Cay and respective beach closures will “remain in place until we are able to ensure that better social distancing can be practiced and enforced.”

Last night, Bahamasair announced it will provide one daily relief flight, starting today until Wednesday, to accommodate Bahamians, residents and people with valid work permits who need to return home. More information can be found on the airline’s website.

Comments

stillwaters 2 months ago

Man.....what a conundrum! In trying to stop citizens from getting sick with the virus through lockdown and guidelines, a large amount of people starve......in trying to open the economy so that starving people can work, the people get sick again.........

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tribanon 2 months ago

There is no balancing act between Covid-19 and the economy. That's a totally false narrative because no country's economy can be restarted while it is ablaze with out-of-control community spead of Covid-19. That's just plain common sense 101. But copy cat Minnis just could not resist buying into the false narrative put out by Trump. Re-opening our borders to travellers from the US at a time when many states in the US are ablaze with out-of-control community spread of Covid-19, especially Florida, was the height of stupidity by Minnis.

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licks2 2 months ago

Here we go again. . .oxymoronic commentary!! Hey wrong for opening. . .he wrong for not opening. . .he wrong for err. . .what he wrong for nah??? Oh. . .dang. . .it slipped from ma again!! Anywho. . .tis wrong cos tis minnis doing it. . .I een care what it tis. . .TIS WRONG!!

Carry on yinna. . . while minnis win the hearts and minds of the peoples them. . .the masses and the intellectuals. . .hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!

I een know if he will maintain this "over the top good leadership" round or do something that may get himself "talked bad about" again after "pissing" the peoples them off down the road apiece. But for now. . .that man is flying high in approval from his peoples them!!

Now I can find one lil ting in his talks to "latch on and bitch" about. . .but all that will do now is make me look stupid!! But stupidity never stopped most of yinna in the past aye? Soooooooooooooooooooooo lets go. . .ah one and ah two and ah three. . .let the pea brain thinking begin!! Hehehehehehehehehehehehehehe!!! Oh I carn laugh at this crew er peoples dem!!

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ThisIsOurs 2 months ago

yes he was wrong for opening and not opening at the same time because none of his decisions were based on science.

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tribanon 2 months ago

He {Minnis} added: “Private international flights and charters for Bahamians, residents and visitors will be permitted. Pleasure craft and yachts will also be permitted.

This continues to leave a gaping hole in our borders for travellers to the Bahamas from the Covid-19 laden US, whether they be dare devil Bahamians or a few foolish tourists. Minnis still just doesn't get it! Simply unbelievable.

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moncurcool 2 months ago

“Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy,” Dr Minnis said. “It has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders.

The first sentence is clearly not so. The second is the real cause.

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mandela 2 months ago

Treason, for a few dollars more we have now put our country back more than 1 year, and it will cost us 1000 times more to get out a situation that we were already beyond. Now beaches closed again and we are now back-peddling fast to ruination. DDDDDDDDDDDDD leadership.

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tribanon 2 months ago

Now not even the parts of our economy (local businesses) not so dependent on tourist dollars, but more dependent on Bahamian spenders, may find it difficult to survive if we have a wide spread outbreak of Covid-19 cases with many hospitalizations. Minnis has proven himself to be a most deadly fool. God help us!

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rodentos 2 months ago

don't worry it is only a hidden genius master plan behind! We are on bigger things

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tribanon 2 months ago

Sands at least had it right when it came to the need to keep our borders closed for as long as possible. And Sands understood there was no great number of tourists to be had in the midst of a global pandemic. Minnis on the other hand sorely lacks such common sense and is as clueless and directionless as they come. The longer we leave this foolish loser in the driving seat, the greater the chance he will drive all of us off of the proverbial cliff.

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birdiestrachan 2 months ago

When cases increased in Florida the PM opened the borders. Canada closed their borders to the USA. In Grand Bahama COVID comes out at 7 Pm in Nassau it comes out at 10 pm

Classes can be opened to take exams but not churches. Private charters and yachts can enter the Bahamas.

Robinson has been given his post back in tourism. Where are the tourist?? Dumb and dangerous is the order of the day. The Bahamas is running down hill rather quickly..

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birdiestrachan 2 months ago

When cases increased in Florida the PM opened the borders. Canada closed their borders to the USA. In Grand Bahama COVID comes out at 7 Pm in Nassau it comes out at 10 pm

Classes can be opened to take exams but not churches. Private charters and yachts can enter the Bahamas.

Robinson has been given his post back in tourism. Where are the tourist?? Dumb and dangerous is the order of the day. The Bahamas is running down hill rather quickly..

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John 2 months ago

The fact that the US refuses to unite and get strict and get corona under control will set the entire world back in the fight to get rid of this pandemic. And so this country must now put the welfare and safety of its citizens above everything else

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rodentos 2 months ago

send destroyers and air carriers to fight covid19 pls

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Honestman 2 months ago

Closing off commercial travel to the US was the only sensible option and so I welcome the decision. Many of us thought it was a foolish move to open up to US air travel on 1st July given the spread of the pandemic there and we have been proved right. Hopefully the PM won't make the same mistake again and his error can be nullified in the coming weeks as the Bahamas works to suppress this virus once more. This resurgence of cases just emphasises how difficult it is going to be for these islands to combat this epidemic whilst trying to keep the island open to tourists. America is in a mess right now and they have a President who must be injecting bleach into his brain. How else do you explain his behaviour in dealing with the pandemic? Until the USA gets a proper grip of this crisis we simply cannot open our doors again to American tourists. It is heartbreaking for our country but the health of our citizens must come first. I fear we are in for a long and scary ride.

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stillwaters 2 months ago

Things are only going downhill from here economically........so yes, it's about to get scary.

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tribanon 2 months ago

With Minnis as the 'incompetent' authority, most of us would not expect things to go any other way.

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stillwaters 2 months ago

Let's hope and pray that the hospitalizations remain low and covid infections remain mild.

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tribanon 2 months ago

At least we won't have to worry about the Covid-19 death stats looking politically unfavourable because Minnis will no doubt employ the same method of tabulating deaths that was used for Hurricane Dorian.

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rodentos 2 months ago

Good advice folks: buy your own respirators before it is too late

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TalRussell 2 months ago

As the numbers multiply for comrades testing positive for COVID-19, so do the people who develop difficulty in breathing and require hospital care. For a percentage, they will succumb to the killer virus. A still unknown percentage could've been avoidable had The Colony's Central Authority not been in a rush to swung wide open the economy July 1, 2020. Nod Once for Yeah, Twice for No?

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licks2 2 months ago

See what I tell ya. . .most of these posts don't have a wisp of a clue. . .they are all over the place with their reasoning. . .no wonder they are having no effect on the Minnis Government to listened to for anything. . .they are dishonest and childish in their reasoning skills. . . oxymoronic. . .Andros yard chicken mentality! Their attempts as polemicist leave them far wanting in cogent cognitive prowess!

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ashley14 2 months ago

Yes! The US is handling the pandemic recklessly. We don't know who to believe anymore. We are being made to go back to work. In GA our Governor is suing Atlanta's Mayor Bottoms for trying to control the spread by issuing a mandatory masks order. Nothing that is going on in the US makes any sense. I guess they are being led by big money and the promise of votes. One thing I'm sure of is the US is in a bad place right now.

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