Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
VISITORS to The Bahamas face deportation if they do not complete a short survey each day for at least 14 days if they are in the country, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said yesterday.
Citizens, residents and visitors who do not complete the survey will be fined $100 per day or one week in prison. For visitors, they also will be deported.
The survey requirement is in addition to other COVID-19 requirements for travellers,, such as a RT-PCR test five days before arrival and a rapid antigen test on the fifth day of arriving in the country.
The survey will be provided through the website travel.gov.bs.
Additionally, the domestic travel health visa must be presented to air and sea carrier operators before boarding an aircraft or marine vessel.
If this requirement is breached, the carrier or owner of the vessel is subject to a fine of $2,000 for every passenger travelling without the domestic travel health visa. The passenger also will be subject to a fine of $1,000.
This comes as Atlantis has said guests of its “safe zone” will not be required to undergo testing multiple times.
“All individuals, including citizens, residents and visitors, travelling into The Bahamas, will be required to complete this short survey on-line each day for approximately 14 days. The health screening survey is an important part of preventing the spread of COVID 19 and ensuring that The Bahamas is safe for all to enjoy,” Dr Minnis said in the House of Assembly yesterday.
“Participation in this survey is mandatory. Those who fail to comply will be subject to penalties. Citizens, residents and visitors who do not complete the survey will be fined $100 per day or one week in prison. For visitors, they will also be deported. The health survey will enable the further monitoring of and response to any possible instances of COVID-19.”
“The Ministry of Health also will be studying the results of the health survey to scientifically test and to evaluate the health protocols.”
Dr Minis said a domestic travel health visa also will be implemented soon for travel from New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, mainland Eleuthera and Bimini to other islands in the country, though this will not apply to travel between Exuma and its cays and Eleuthera and its surrounding islands.
“The domestic travel health visa will replace the 14-day quarantine requirement for those travelling from New Providence,” he said.
“The domestic travel health visa, like the international travel health visa, will include the same two-pronged approach to fight COVID-19, inclusive of the daily health screening survey and rapid antigen testing on the fifth day. This domestic travel health visa must be presented to air and sea carrier operators before boarding an aircraft or marine vessel. If this requirement is breached, the carrier or owner of the vessel is subject to a fine of $2,000 for every passenger travelling without the domestic travel health visa. The passenger also will be subject to a fine of $1,000. I wish also to note that for the time being, a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test is required only for travel from New Providence, Grand Bahama and Exuma.”
Dr Minnis said despite the restrictive measures he implemented on Exuma because of exponential increases in new COVID-19 cases there, health officials on that island report that “some people are still having gatherings and residents believe this is largely contributing to the spread of COVID-19” there.
“A health team is scheduled to return to Eleuthera next week to complete a follow-up assessment and to determine the impact of the recently imposed restrictive measures on that island,” he said.
He also reiterated his desire that Bahamians not travel abroad at this time because of the possibility that they could return with COVID-19.