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First Arrivals Due In From U.S. ‘Spike’ Zones

The Lynden Pindling International Airport.

The Lynden Pindling International Airport.

By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT

ts-cartwright@tribunemedia.net

SIX flights are due to arrive in the country from the United States when international commercial travels resumes tomorrow, according to officials at Lynden Pindling International Airport. 

Despite a serious spike in COVID-19 cases in the US, the country’s borders will fully open this week. Many of the incoming flights originate from cities and states where COVID-19 cases are high.   “Current flight projections show a total of six flights arriving from the United States on July 1 starting with Delta Airlines’ inbound service from Atlanta to Nassau at approximately 11.30am,” a statement from LPIA noted.

“Six flights are scheduled for departure on day one. Airlines have scheduled direct service to Nassau from key US gateways such as Charlotte, NC; New York (JFK); Denver; Houston; Baltimore; Newark; Miami and Ft Lauderdale along with service from Toronto, Canada.

“On arrival at LPIA, passengers should expect to have their temperatures taken as we begin to welcome guests. Persons showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be referred to the local health officials at the airport for further testing and evaluation.”

Based on current dashboard statistics, Florida and Houston are seeing a raging spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations. New York and New Jersey, although numbers are still high, have seen a downward turn after governors came together and made a plan to lower the stats. North Carolina is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases and Toronto’s numbers, after being low for a while, are starting to rise again. Colorado’s numbers seem stable.

“As we enter this final reopening phase and welcome visitors to the destination and residents back home, our focus is on ensuring that all airport partners are ready on July 1 to support the additional safety protocols put in place by the government to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Vernice Walkine, president and CEO of Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD).

“From an airport perspective, we anticipate a gradual uptick in arrivals and departures over the next two to three weeks. The phased approached to restarting air service has allowed our team to successfully test new safety protocols in real time. As we move forward in this new normal of operating in a pandemic, we are using the best practices learned to date to guide our plan.” 

According to the airport’s statement, passengers traveling to and from Lynden Pindling International Airport can expect new protocols on departure and arrival. All inbound travelers, as of July 1, will be required to complete an electronic health visa prior to travel. And, all visitors, Bahamian citizens and residents will be asked to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test and confirmation of their approved health visa upon entry or return to The Bahamas. The test, the statement said, should be taken no more than ten days prior to the date of travel.

Beginning July 7, PCR COVID-19 tests that have negative results must be taken no later than seven days prior to the date of arrival, scrapping the aforementioned policy requiring that tests be no later than ten days old, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced on Sunday. He said ten day old tests will be accepted until July 7.

Dr Minnis also said Bahamians and residents returning to the country from countries where they cannot obtain a PCR test must show that the test is unavailable and will be subjected to mandatory quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. He added that Bahamians and residents returning to the country after 72 hours or less are not required to produce a negative test result but can be tested in the country at their own cost. Without a negative test, travellers in this group will have to quarantine for two weeks upon their return home. 

Last week, a top local infectious disease expert said The Bahamas can still manage reopening the country without an explosion of COVID-19 cases if protocols are executed properly.

Dr Nikkiah Forbes, the government’s infectious disease expert, said on Thursday: “When borders are opening and you’re allowing travel during an epidemic, there will be risk of persons traveling with COVID-19. There is no 100 percent way to eliminate risk completely so there has to be steps, including screening, testing, and quarantine if persons are not able to be tested.

“In allowing travellers to come, there will be some degree of risk associated and all you can do is minimise the risk. To be fair, I think these steps by (the Ministry of) Tourism and Aviation in conjunction with (Ministry of) Health, I think these safety measures will considerably reduce the risk.

For more information on testing requirements, visits https://travel.gov.bs/. 

Comments

proudloudandfnm 2 months, 4 weeks ago

This is just dumb. Stay with the plane to reopen and we will shut right back down in three weeks. Only this time with hundreds of cases and a surge we cannot control.

Up to now the government has done an excellent job keeping us protected opening now will erase all of that...

The entire world is experiencing economic hardship right now. That is just the nature of this beast.

Opening tomorrow is just dumb...

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mrsmith 2 months, 4 weeks ago

If most hotels are closed, where are all these supposed tourists staying?

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Chucky 2 months, 4 weeks ago

“”Last week, a top local infectious disease expert said The Bahamas can still manage reopening the country without an explosion of COVID-19 cases if protocols are executed properly.“

The numbers are far higher in some of the American cities now than when travel and lockdowns were dirt implemented.

This is proof the lockdown was either irrational and not needed, or intended to serve another purpose. In effect, we are opening up to worse conditions than caused us to shut down.

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proudloudandfnm 2 months, 4 weeks ago

no it most certainly is not. The US is surging again because republicans decided to open their states way too early, despite the virus. Nothing coming out of the US is proof of anything but US idiocy....

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tribanon 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Repost:

Minnis has made a most grave error in judgement here. He should have kept our borders closed to international travel at least until August 1. Even the major hotel operators on New Providence & PI now recognize that too few tourists will be coming our way in July and August to justify their re-opening for business. Some of the few tourists who dare to travel our way starting July 1 will almost certainly ignite another spreading and surge of the Covid-19 virus in the Bahamas.

As a result of Minnis's misguided decision to pre-maturely re-open our country to international travellers, most of whom will be transiting through South Florida, we will be experiencing by mid-July a very significant surge of Covid-19 hospitalizations similar to what South Florida is now experiencing from the pre-mature re-opening of Florida's economy. Minnis seems not to care that his decision will surely imperil the lives of many elderly Bahamians, especially those with underlying existing medical conditions. Is putting the lives of many of our more vulnerable Bahamians at great risk really worth the very few tourist dollars that will flow into our economy in the month of July? Come on Minnis, where's your heart? Where's your soul? Do you really want this kind of blood on your hands?

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mandela 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Yes, this makes no sense we are opening up the country in far worst conditions as before we shut down the first time. GOD help us.

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joeblow 2 months, 4 weeks ago

if covid-19 makes it into the house of assembly, this country might just have a future! Until then, we suffer in silence!

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TalRussell 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Did comrade sister, your Majesty just abuse The Colony's Constitution. something Her excellency sister Margurtiate P, would never have given her royal assent to.
Time suspends the arrest, charging, and jailing of the Homeless to make Fox Hill jailcell room for a very small group of Key Players, those who believe they can totally violate The Colony's Constitution to have the Queen's on island 's representative, bypass the House of Assembly to rule by decree fiat!
The Law is clear in that neither the Governor-General nor the Attorney General was PopoulacesOrdinary Constituents elected. Nod Once for Yeah, Twice for No?

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xtreme2x 2 months, 4 weeks ago

GOD DID NOT CREATED THIS WORLD FOR US TO SHUT ARE SELF IN. INSTEAD OF WORRYING ABOUT WHO IS COMING IN AND IF THEY HAVE COVID-19. WE NEED TO ENSURE ALL OUR PEOPLE WHO COME IN CONTACT WITH THEM ARE FULLY PROTECTED AND FOLLOWING THE MASK WEARING, GLOVES WEARING WHILE DEALING WITH TOURIST. BEFORE THEY ENTER THEIR HOME THEY HAVE TO CHANGE CLOTHES AND SHOWER AND DISINFECT MONEY BEFORE HANDLING. GOD WILL HELP US. OPEN THE COUNTRY.

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tribanon 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Many Bahamians have proven they're not even disciplined enough to protect themselves and others from common STDs, yet you think they will somehow be disciplined enough to protect themselves and others from an invisible and undetectable deadly virus like Covid-19. I think not! Suggest you brace yourself for the tidal wave of Covid-19 headed our way. And as if that's not bad enough, for the past two weeks news reports from reputable Asian sources have been claiming a new deadly strain of the Swine Flu Virus in Red China (very similar to the virus that caused last major SARS outbreak about a decade or so ago) appears to be rapidly developing the capability of human transmission. Yep, it certainly seems we're gonna have a real humdinger of a flu season this coming Fall combined with the second wave of Covid-19. All we need now is for another Dorian-like catastrophic hurricane to come along and put us all out of our misery by sweeping us out to sea! What time is it? I need a stiff drink.

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killemwitdakno 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Visitors should not come in contact with locals period! Self service.

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proudloudandfnm 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I would not want to be in Nassau after tomorrow.

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joeblow 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I think its only right that the PM, leader of the Opposition and Minister of Tourism should be at the airport without masks, to greet the first few flights to the Bahamas!

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 4 weeks ago

they'll be fine if they stay 6 ft away and don't touch any door knobs or seats

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