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Carib visitors to face quarantine

photo

Joy Jibrilu

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

TRAVELLERS coming to The Bahamas from English-speaking CARICOM member countries will not be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test for entry to this country, according to Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu.

She said travelLers from those areas will instead be quarantined on arrival because COVID-19 tests are not available in their countries.

The countries this policy affects include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and Turks and Caicos islands.

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said Wednesday that the Minnis administration initially intended to end the COVID-19 negative test requirement when commercial travel resumes on July 1, but rising infections in the United States forced a u-turn.

For his part, Bahamasair Chairman Tommy Turnquest said requiring traveLlers to produce a COVID-19 test to enter the country will “absolutely” cause the airline to re-examine its fiscal projections for the foreseeable future.

“People will determine how badly they want to come to the Bahamas and if they want to come to the Bahamas and get away from the stress of wherever they are, they will take the test and come, but I don’t know what that number is. There will be others who will say this a hassle and I ain’ fooling with this right now. (Absolutely), this will make us look at our numbers again,” he said.

During several early repatriation flights involving Bahamian residents leaving the United States, people complained about long wait times as a Ministry of Health official assessed their test results. Mr Turnquest said the process implemented since June 15 should ensure no hiccups.

“Persons coming in to the Bahamas will go online and send a copy of their negative test. They get an email that’s generated and sent back to them and they must bring that email along with original COVID-19 test to the airport and we bring them,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the Medical Association of the Bahamas has said it supports requiring a negative COVID-19 PCR test result for travelers seeking to enter the country.

MAB President Dr Marcus Cooper said medical professionals need robust scrutiny of international travelers.

“PCR tests are readily available in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom and are even free in some areas,” he said in a press release this week. “The interval between testing and travel should be determined by the average turn-around time to receive test results in the various jurisdictions. Test results should be presented prior to boarding any vessel whose final destination is The Bahamas. The policy should also take into consideration Bahamian citizens and residents who will be traveling abroad for short periods of time. Test results should also be required for any resort or hotel check-in where further examination may be necessary to verify authenticity of test results. Authorities must also have the ability to translate those test results that are not in English.”

Dr Cooper said for all the country’s success in flattening the epidemic curve of COVID-19, the war against the virus is ongoing.

He said: “Currently in the United States there are reports of a resurgence of new cases in Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Arkansas. Prior to the border closure, direct flights were available from multiple airports in Florida, Houston, Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina to Lynden Pindling International Airport. The director of the Centres for Disease Control has also warned of a possible resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall that could result “in an even worse peak at the end of the year. History will show that when the US gets a cold, The Bahamas gets pneumonia.”

Comments

thps 2 years, 1 month ago

"She said travelLers from those areas will instead be quarantined on arrival because COVID-19 tests are not available in their countries.

The countries this policy affects include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and Turks and Caicos islands."

Cayman has performed 19,336 tests of 65,000 people

Maybe the article means to say "because Covid-19 tests cant easily be obtained on demand if someone wants to take a vacation"....perhaps that is what this means.

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Clamshell 2 years, 1 month ago

Figuring out what a news story in The Tribune might mean is something of a full-time occupation. Editors? What editors?

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Economist 2 years, 1 month ago

Agreed, Cayman has the 4th heighest testing per capiter in the world. Bermuda is 12th.

The Bahamas is way down in the bottom half at 131st.

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TalRussell 2 years, 1 month ago

Rather than invite to take over the out island of Andros, It might be time the colony's foreign affairs minister to summon the US resident ambassador in for a stern rebuke in that the USA and Brazil are the at the top list the countries not taking the COVID-19 murderous virus seriously. Both lead by dangerous dictators. Nod Once for Yeah, Twice for No?

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moncurcool 2 years, 1 month ago

This article is all over the place. Where do you begin?

So The Director of Tourism is saying we will now spend money to quarantine people coming into the country from Caricom English places without a test? Are we that crazy? No test no entry. Period!!! But we are gonna spend money we don't have to quarantine them?

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thps 2 years, 1 month ago

The policy is all over the place.

When NYC and Was and Cali were hotspots, we didn't restrict flights from the US but restricted flights from a list of places (most didn't have direct flights). and allowed cruises and spring breakers in from the US.

So we have a spike in US cases. If you were to amend your policy based on the spike in US cases you would think it would be for US travelers. But the policy seems to apply to, for example, to direct flights from Toronto or London.

So the person coming from Cayman on the same BA flight from London needs to quarantine, but the person coming from London needs a negative test and both are on the same plane.

...and all because of a US spike in cases?

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tribanon 2 years, 1 month ago

It seems Minnis has infected many with his directionless disease. Jibrilu like D'Aguilar certainly seems not to know whether she's headed east or west these days. But then again she has always been grossly over paid and over rated.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 1 month ago

I do not understand why after 3 months all these "well... if we require tests we have to consider...", why didnt they do all this considering in the last 3 months? From day one we were talking about controls for reopening. From about half way in we were talking about the 2nd wave. What was the plan for the second wave? This is crazy

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TalRussell 2 years, 1 month ago

Zhivargo Laing's talk show has been quarantined to his basement? His talk show keeps sounding like it's being broadcast from deep in wells out his basement. An annoying, amateur Radio Shack equipped sounding radio show...... maybe a COVID-19 affect programming cutbacks lost advertisers.

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tribanon 2 years, 1 month ago

You listen to Laing?! Small wonder you're ........

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