By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
Confusion over what countries are safe to visit during the COVID crisis has been laid bare by contradictory advice by the US to its citizens on travel to The Bahamas.
Americans looking to visit here over the coming weeks and months may be put off by the US Centres for Disease Control which has a Level Four travel advisory against The Bahamas, warning Americans against visits here at a time when the country is trying to desperately boost tourist arrivals to support the ailing economy. The CDC says travelling to The Bahamas may increase your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19.
“Travellers should avoid all travel to The Bahamas,” the CDC says in a notice posted on its website. “If you must travel, talk to your doctor ahead of travel, especially if you are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.”
Confusingly the US State Department yesterday dropped its advisory for Americans coming here from its August Level Four to Level Three which most would agree was a reflection of the significant decrease in COVID infections since the summer, especially here in New Providence.
Here the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Tourism is seeking project a positive image for the country in spite of the clear travel warnings contradictions.
The statement said: “The Bahamas understands the need for all countries, including the USA, to put in place health and safety measures in the best interest of its nationals.
“At the same time, The Bahamas has also put in place travel parameters for the protection of Bahamians, residents and tourists in the country, namely, by requiring all persons traveling to The Bahamas to have a COVID-19 travel visa and a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test to enter The Bahamas.
“Upon entry, all persons are required to undergo mandatory monitoring and testing where necessary. Strict health and safety protocols, such as mask wearing, distancing and hand sanitization, are in place at all times. These safety measures are laid out in various emergency orders that have been widely circulated, both nationally and internationally. Failure to comply with these protocols will result in fines or even imprisonment.
“The Bahamas is confident that if all visitors, nationals and residents abide by these regulations, the spread of the pandemic will be stemmed and the loss of lives will be prevented. At the same time, while observing these rules, visitors will have an enjoyable stay in the Bahamas.
“The government of The Bahamas is committed to the safety of every person within its borders and will adhere to medical and scientific advice.”
The statement added: “The Bahamas will continue to work with all countries, to fight the pandemic and treat those who have been afflicted by the virus, until a vaccine is available. Until such time, we urge all persons to spare no measure to observe health and safety protocols.”