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Inter-island travel to be test-free

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

PERSONS travelling from New Providence and Grand Bahama will no longer be required to take a COVID-19 test for inter-island travel, press secretary Clint Watson announced yesterday.

Mr Watson said the rule will apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers and is set to take effect today.

Additional details, he added, are expected to be released soon.

“We’re pleased to announce that the Ministry of Health and Wellness will be further relaxing travel restrictions as it relates to COVID testing,” Mr Watson announced at yesterday’s press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister.

 “By the end of the week, travellers from Grand Bahama won’t have to test to travel to New Providence or other Family Islands. The Ministry of Health and Wellness will put out a statement detailing the change. In essence, what we’re doing is removing Grand Bahama off the schedule that it’s on now and placing it on the other one so if you are travelling from Grand Bahama to the capital or to the Family Islands, you will no longer need to test.”

 He added: “New Providence is also included in that and so you will no longer need testing if you are leaving New Providence to go to any of the Family Islands, you can do so without a test and that will be taking effect later this weekend...so that means testing will no longer be required for travel throughout the Bahama islands.”

 According to Mr Watson, the government’s decision to eliminate testing requirements for domestic travel is in response to the continued downward trend in COVID-cases.

 This comes after the Ministry of Health and Wellness reported only five new infections Wednesday, bringing the nation’s overall tally to 33,283 since the start of the pandemic.

 However, COVID-19 concerns have reignited in some quarters due to a new Omicron subvariant, called the BA.2, which is spreading in some parts of the world, including the US, Asia and Europe.

 Addressing those concerns yesterday, Mr Watson said the government continues to be on high alert in view of the new strain, reminding Bahamians that officials can reintroduce measures if the need arises.

“So, they are watching but it’s good to know that we have protocols that are in place that have helped us get to what we’ve gotten through so far so our protocols are strong and they remain in place. Those that have been relaxed, we can bring them back should the need be, so that’s the good thing about it,” he said.

 As it relates to reports about the country’s travel health visa ending soon, Mr Watson told reporters he is still waiting to receive confirmation in that regard from the Ministry of Tourism.

 Last week, Tourism, Investments and Aviation Minister Chester Cooper confirmed that the government plans to end the health travel visa soon, although he did not say when.

 “We are hopeful that we have seen the end of COVID,” Mr Cooper said. “We are monitoring it in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, and when we make a determination that we no longer need the health travel visa, it will go away.

 “So, I foreshadow this is a transition period, and during the transition period, if the determination is made that we are comfortable with the state of COVID in the world, then it will be eliminated. It is not here to stay indefinitely, but I cannot give you a specific date at this time as to when it will be eliminated.”

Comments

tribanon 4 months, 2 weeks ago

THE VERY CORRUPT AND MOST INCOMPETENT CHESTER THE JESTER SHOULD BE TAKING EXPEDITIOUS ACTION TO IMMEDIATELY END THE TRAVEL HEALTH VISA SCHEME THAT HAS CAUSED SO MUCH ECONOMIC PAIN AND HARM FOR THE BAHAMIAN PEOPLE.

THIS RIDICULOUS SCHEME SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN PUT IN PLACE AND HAS ONLY SERVED TO UNJUSTLY ENRICH THE POLITICALLY WELL-CONNECTED FEW SERVICE PROVIDERS BEHIND IT, MAINLY FRIENDS OF THAT YAPPING WHITE HAIRED POODLE, D'AGUILAR.

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DDK 4 months, 2 weeks ago

ENDING THIS "PANDEMIC" NONSENSE IS SOOOOO PAINFULLY SLOW. There must be other things that need the attention of this illustrious government.

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realfreethinker 4 months, 2 weeks ago

When are going to get rid of these killer masks and hand sanitizers

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JokeyJack 4 months, 2 weeks ago

We cannot get rid of them. Covid has gone away, but now we are threatened with Invisible Leprechaun Disease (ILD). This is a condition whereby you see invisible leprechauns at odd times when nobody else is around. Last night I saw 7 invisible ones in my bedroom just as i was about to fall asleep. They kept me up another 2 hours beyond my bedtime and this morning I am VERY tired.

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bahamianson 4 months, 2 weeks ago

What about bahamians vs anyone else? Bahamians cannot travel to the states unless vaccinated, americans can.Do Americans have the same privilege as Bahamians in this matter? If so, I might as well change my citizenship. I hope it is not the case because I get penalized in America for being a foreigner, I cant get penalized for being a bahamian in my own country. There is to some privilege here.

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