A Bahamasair flight carrying Bahamian nationals and residents makes its way along a taxiway towards the airport terminal Friday in Freeport, Grand Bahama. The flight was part of a repatriation exercise the Government implemented to bring nationals and residents home from Florida. (SURGE Media Photo/Tim Aylen)
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Grand Bahama passenger who initially tested positive for COVID-19 has now tested negative for the disease, the Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday night.
The passenger arrived in Grand Bahama on Friday, May 8, and was part of the government’s exercise to return Bahamians and residents home who were still abroad due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was discovered after the aircraft landed in Grand Bahama that this passenger was on the flight. Three individuals traveled with this passenger.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said the passenger tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of his arrival home and should not have been on the flight. At the time, he said the passenger and three others with him had been retested and officials were awaiting the results.
On Tuesday night, officials said the passenger has now tested negative for the disease.
“The passenger was tested twice upon arrival in Grand Bahama by the Ministry of Health’s Surveillance Team,” the Ministry of Health said Tuesday night. “Both test samples returned a negative result, as confirmed by the fully accredited National Reference Lab in New Providence. Health officials are satisfied that the passenger did not pose a risk to the other passengers traveling on the same aircraft.”
The statement came hours after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced it was investigating how the passenger was allowed on the flight.
A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Dr Minnis has asked that this matter be treated with priority.
“Accordingly, the ministry is presently conducting enquiries into all matters surrounding the incident and will report its findings to the prime minister on completion,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The Tribune previously reported that the man who flew to Grand Bahama on Friday despite testing positive for COVID-19 was one of four people from the same household who were not on Bahamasair’s initial list of people slated to join the government’s repatriation exercise.
Prior to boarding the flight, the other three people produced a negative COVID-19 test result, The Tribune understands. Consulate General officials from Florida reportedly told the airline the four were cleared for travel, sources said.
A foreign affairs official told a local daily on Monday that the man in question tested positive for COVID-19 “over a week ago”.
The policy is that only people with a negative COVID-19 test result could return to the country.