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Foreign Visitors Will Not Face Quarantine

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar.

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Minnis administration is still considering whether it will require tourists to produce a negative PCR test result to gain entry into the country but have ruled out visitors being forced into quarantine.

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday a 14-day quarantine period is out of the question for visitors. “If you require a 14-day quarantine you’re not in the tourism business so that will no longer become a requirement,” said Mr D’Aguilar.

The Minnis administration is looking to reopen the country on July 1, with international commercial flights expected to resume on that date. But with COVID-19 still impacting countries there is risk tourists will bring the disease here and cause an outbreak. There are inherent difficulties in requiring persons considering a holiday in the Bahamas to get a PCR molecular swab test,” Mr D’Aguilar said.

“Just in the last six weeks of requiring it for returning residents or returning citizens, there have been challenges in people getting those tests.

“If you’re going to restart the economy and you’re looking to make the destination attractive to people to come here for a holiday, you are kinda in a conundrum on what sort of testing there has to be. The PCR test has an enormous limitation. It is a test taken at one point in time. Given the fact that it could take two to three to four days to get this test result, the timing mitigates the risk somewhat but doesn’t provide you with the coverage you want.”

Mr D’Aguilar said “COVID-19 is here for the rest of our lives,” emphasising that the country cannot stay in a cycle of curfews or lockdowns forever or even until a vaccine is created.

“You have to understand we’re not going to eliminate the risk,” he said. “We have to work to mitigate the risk. Mitigation takes many forms, like wear a mask on the plane and while in the destination make sure you social distance; make sure there’s adequate protection in place to diminish the touch points and sanitise points; temperature checking, etc.

“Currently there are no rapid tests which would be ideal to fulfil the requirements for testing if there is one but PCR tests take too long to do and are not proving to be a possible, viable option. COVID-19 is here for the rest of our lives. We all keep holding on for a vaccine but we can’t remain in a situation for lockdown and curfews until a vaccine is developed, that’s not a viable alternative.”

The Bahamas was recently listed among 44 other top holiday destinations that airlines hope abandon the 14-day quarantine rule. The 45-nation list was agreed by British Airways, Easyjet and Virgin Atlantic. The list was sent to ministers in the British government.

Comments

Chucky 2 months, 1 week ago

Clearly opening in 1 month shows this pandemic lockdown etc was not about a pandemic, but some other sinister plan by the world leaders to oppress the people.

Lest you’d rather believe all the risk is done and gone as of July 1st.

Remember folks it’s possible one plane to carry more infected people than our country has had to date.

So either we’ve been through a serious and deadly pandemic, and the risk persists, and is real, and therefore plane loads of people is akin to suicide; or this has all been about something else!

You decide what to believe. Remember our government happily overtaxed, undereducated and enslaved us with insurmountable debt; so it’s not like they displayed scare in the world about us little people.

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tetelestai 2 months, 1 week ago

So, in all of your subterfuge and conspiracy theories, you neglected to advise us poor, uneducated folds as to what was up. Would you mind explaining what exactly this was, please?

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 1 week ago

I agree with @Chunky if this is the plan what was the last 3 months of not getting any peace at the beach all about?

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shonkai 2 months, 1 week ago

Most (American) tourists go in self quarantine anyway in all-inclusives, or with only one outing to a liquor store when they arrive. Let's concentrate on how to get them to keep distance from taxi drivers and hotel staff. And then of course test those taxi drivers and hotel staff on a weekly basis, there must be enough testkits available in the world today. I agree it is about mitigating the risk, but let's not be totally stupid about this and throw all caution overboard just because they are tourists. I mean what have these past months of isolation been for otherwise, all for nothing?

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DD 2 months, 1 week ago

I must say the statement from the Minister of Tourism speaks volumes.He is 100% correct on both the testing question and the quarantine of tourists for 14 days.With those two restrictions eliminated the Tourist Industry in the Bahamas has been given a chance to survive.The loss of the economy will kill more people than the Corona 19 ever will.Time is of the essence!The boating season is here and so is the hurricane season.For GBI there are plenty of rental houses with docks and hotels with marinas that could be opened immediately and just have the tourists confined to the property.There are many hotels that can not survive if you don’t allow them to open for the summer season.There is no taking it back if you starve these businesses out of exsistance.Thank you,I think we are headed in the right direction..

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 1 week ago

They considering if they will need a negative test and they wint be qyarantined????

what we been locked down for for the past 3 months??? You might as well have gotten those 90+ infected and let them breathe on the entire population. Get it over one time.

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DDK 2 months, 1 week ago

Chucky, I do believe you hit the nail right on the head!

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shonkai 2 months, 1 week ago

But he shouldn't have held it over his brain when hitting it.

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TalRussell 2 months, 1 week ago

Is there something more forceful that went into comrade Dioniso James model for a full July 1, 2020, flungin wide open to all visitors and tourists to the colony - other than the model has to do with the small matter there being but an average of only 26 COVID-19 tests have been completed daily across all 700 islands and cays daily since March 1, 2020.
In fact, our Abacoian comrades, say it's better odds of an Elvis sightin across the Abaco's than to bump into of single Abacoian, or seasonal resident, who has actually been administrated a ministry of health virus test?
In the meantime, under the colony's shelter at-home law, any and all caught be engaging in sex acts with another deemed, not to be legally sheltering-at-home with each other - can result in your neighbors reporting your sexual exercises to Crime Stoppers for a cash snitcher's reward, and if arrested and found guilty, you can be fined, and be jailed up at Fox Hill Prison. Just can't make this in your bedroom business up. Just, can't. Nod one for Yeah, Twice for no.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 1 week ago

You the strabge thing is DAguilar has been signaling this no-plan plan from the start. Theyve been saying all along that they would open July 1 with no indication of how they came up with that date. It was just a nice date to open.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 1 week ago

boy...my typing is horrible...along with autocorrect

"Yes the strange thing is..."

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DD 2 months, 1 week ago

I believe the Bahamas has represented that less than 100 people have been exposed to the virus.Why not quarantine the sick and exposed and let the other 99.9% be free!

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DD 2 months, 1 week ago

Provide all Immigration Officers a hand held electronic temperature sensor that can be simply pointed at a tourist and is very effective with no false positives and gives you more usable information than the existing tests in a reliable result.Just a trip to a Lab or Doctors office in the US provides more risk than most people ever face in their normal day.Don’t forget it could take uup to 2 weeks for symptoms to appear.

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joeblow 2 months, 1 week ago

... they need thermal imaging set up at airports and harbors to more easily identify incoming passengers who may have fevers, but above all we need antibody testing to determine just how protected our population is against a second wave of this virus. Our geni-ass PM says we don't need it though because we are a small country. They continue to inconvenience the 80% who have never develop symptoms and have immunity to find the 5% who may have symptoms. Really smart!

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 1 week ago

The question to be asked is is the temperature persistent? Can an infected person arrive at 11AM but get a temperature spike at 2PM?

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ISpeakFacts 2 months, 1 week ago

Just when you think this government can't get any more stupid!!!

If they don't face quarantine then what was the point of the last 3 months of lockdown??? The foreigners contaminated with the deadly Chinese virus will surely infect everyone in the airports, hotels, taxis, restaurants etc you name it, we might as well open everything back up then because it seems this incompetent government wants the entire population to get infected!!!

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Bonefishpete 2 months, 1 week ago

So in other words a big to do about nothing?

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RealTalk 2 months, 1 week ago

LOL. If you don't laugh, you'll cry. So the tourist coming in don't have to 14 day self quarantine but Bahamians after being tested negative returning to The Bahamas (their home) do? WOW....On another note; Temperature checks should be administered to the passengers from their departure destination. The airline should minimize risk of exposure of COVID to their flight attendants and pilots. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the airline to ramp up protocol in that regard. We can even suggest, it is the responsibility of the airport that no one enters without first being screened. Can you imagine an airport like Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport or John F. Kennedy International Airport. The government should perform a second temperature check upon arrival as well.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 1 week ago

Repost:

Seems to me that going forward travel reservations systems must include a booking at a test facility. The same way you reserve a car and a hotel room. Nothing else makes sense. If you reserve separately who's to say when you go to book whichever option is booked 2nd that your test date will be 7-10 days of the selected travel date?

The only solution is for reservation systems algorithms to be updated so that they have a list of authorized test centres worldwide by city. When you select your travel date, you're given the option to select a test centre in the departure city, the system then presents you with available test reservation options all of which should result in a test delivered in time to meet the requirement testing window. You don't have to check with the test centre. The results are sent automatically to the booking agent with a copy sent to you. For an extra fee you get the option to change your travel date if you get a positive test.

Now, who do I check with for the consultancy fee?

This will result in some really interesting logistic gymnastics for multinational businesses

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 1 week ago

I'd add to that in order to get your confirmation the airline would have had to have received the negative test on the backend

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RealTalk 2 months, 1 week ago

ThisisOurs, I agree. We know life has to go on as usual. There has to be guidelines taken to prevent and limit the spread of the virus via air transport. If we both can have similar thoughts, all is not lost. Hopefully, the powers that be implement a system that will be beneficial to the people.

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The_Oracle 2 months, 1 week ago

I am 45 pages into the 111 page tourism reopening recommendation doc, only one thing to say: It will never fly. 90% of it. Costs will be onerous, the protocols are onerous, and different for each industry or market space. A lazy document. Cut and Pasted from each association/consulted group polled. Simplify it. trim it down to what works. Masks. Personal hygiene. Social distancing where possible. (impossible in aircraft unless you are removing 2/3 of the seats or more. Tickets will be $2500 ea. either way.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 1 week ago

require them to get a test before arriving. like posted above. The test is part of the reservation system. Boaters and yachters have to do the same. The difference between what the govt dud to the Bahamians they abandoned and the proposed system is that the tests and the travel bookings are coordinated

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moncurcool 2 months, 1 week ago

Bahamians come home, quarantine 14 days. Tourists come to Bahamas, no 14 days quarantine. Bahamians come home, produce negative test. Tourists come to Bahamas, we still deciding it they should have to produce test. How much longer do I have to be treated like a second class citizen in my own country? Guess majority rule has produced crap and changed nothing!

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stillwaters 2 months, 1 week ago

The glaring truth is that tourists being the money that Bahamians wait for in order to survive. Bitch as much as you want, without them .....our ship sinks.

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proudloudandfnm 2 months, 1 week ago

If you allow the Americans to come in next month then what was the lockdown for? We locked down for months just to allow another wave? I have to agree with everyone, this isn't making much sense. The worst thing we can do now is to open to the Americans, those morons are actually protesting having to wear a mask. And the US is most definitely going to get hit hard again, and they'll be right here in our country happily spreading the virus when it does hit again??? This whole thing is just nuts....

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DD 2 months, 1 week ago

Calling Americans “morons” and keeping the Bahamian economy shut down will do more damage to Bahamians than any disease.I for one give a lot of credit to the Minister of Tourism for recognizing reality.With Dorian and the Tourist shutdown the Bahamas is in trouble.A lot of these bloggers are not Bahamians that have lost their jobs and only want to provide for their families.If the Bahamas keeps borrowing because there is no economy the government will not be able to function.

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