THE Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation has released the following statement on the COVID-19 crisis (please note – the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has increased to four):
“The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is following guidance from the Bahamas Ministry of Health and other government agencies pertaining to the country’s Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19. At this time, there are three confirmed cases of coronavirus in Nassau, The Bahamas. Patients are isolated in quarantine following the guidelines outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“To further protect the well-being of Bahamian citizens, Prime Minister, The Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis, yesterday announced increased preventative measures and protocol to minimize the potential spread of the illness. These include new border control and quarantine measures for persons travelling from highly infected areas, as well as an imposed curfew extending each night from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. effective Friday, March 20. Given the growing public health concern and to protect the health and well-being of the population of The Bahamas, effective Thursday, March 19, expanded travel restrictions were introduced. Foreign nationals and foreign individuals who have travelled within the last 20 days from United Kingdom, Ireland and other countries in Europe will be prohibited entry into The Bahamas. This is in addition to restrictions already in place for China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. This restricted travel list of countries will be continuously monitored and updated as necessary.
“The Bahamas is conducting COVID-19 testing and is actively employing several measures used globally to screen visitors and residents and to manage the response to individuals of concern, in line with international health best practices. Traveller health questionnaires and a screening protocol are used at ports, hotels and rental properties to identify guests who may require surveillance or treatment. In addition, all Bahamian nationals and residents returning to The Bahamas through any point of entry from any of the restricted countries or an area where community infection and spread is present will be quarantined or be placed under self-isolation upon arrival and are expected to follow the protocols of the Ministry of Health.
“A destination-wide education campaign is underway to remind the public of the basic hygiene practices that can be used to prevent the spread of the virus including frequent, proper hand washing, use of hand sanitizers, frequent disinfection of surfaces and avoiding close contact with those exhibiting signs of respiratory illness.
“All COVID-19 inquiries should be directed to the Ministry of Health. For questions, or concerns, please call the COVID-19 hotline: 242-376-9350 (8am – 8pm EDT) / 242-376-9387 (8pm – 8am EDT).”