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CDC raises Bahamas COVID-19 Travel Risk rating to level three

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas’ COVID-19 Travel Risk Advisory Rating was increased to a level three —“reconsider travel” warning—yesterday by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in response to skyrocketing new infections believed to be caused by the Omicron variant.

The reclassification came a little more than two weeks after the CDC lowered the country to a level two “exercise increased caution” rating.

Yesterday, Tourism, Investments and Aviation Minister Chester Cooper said he remained hopeful that the change by the CDC would have minimal impact on the now vibrant tourism market, which was performing well beyond regional partners.

However, he downplayed the new development saying it was not cause for alarm.

Mr Cooper added that he was satisfied that the country’s protocols in collaboration with health officials created the right balance.

“We have a very resilient product and we are hopeful that the impact will be minimal,” the minister said.

“The past several months have shown a rapid and robust rebound of tourism well ahead of our regional partners. Our proximity to the USA, the pent-up demand for travel and the attractiveness of our product should continue to bode well for us.

“We have an exceptional team of tourism professionals around the world who will continue to monitor reactions in our major markets.

“We are satisfied that our protocols, arrived at in collaboration with our health officials, create the right balance between protecting the health and safety of our residents and guests, as well as supporting our tourism industry and economy for the benefit of the Bahamian people.”

The Bahamas, like the rest of the world, is experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant. Although officials have not yet confirmed the variant’s presence here, they say they have no doubt it is spreading locally.

The country has recorded more than 1,400 confirmed COVID-19 cases between January 1-4.

In a statement from the Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, Mr Cooper also said that Bahamians should remain vigilant, adding that the CDC’s rating would continue to fluctuate and was no cause for alarm.

“Much like the rest of the world, The Bahamas is experiencing a surge in cases brought on by the Omicron variant,” according to the statement. “The CDC evaluates advisory distinctions based on increase and decrease of COVID-19 case counts as well as case trajectory.

“Vaccine coverage rates and performance also play a role in the CDC’s determination of advisory levels.

“We must remain vigilant and stay the course in order to curb the spread of the virus. We are continuing to evolve as the pandemic evolves, and we know that we have seen this advisory from the CDC before.

“The CDC rating will continue to fluctuate throughout the pandemic and is not cause for alarm, but it is a reminder that we cannot let our guard down.

“All measures and protocols are essential to ensuring the safety of our residents and visitors, and we must continue to take them very seriously.”

The ministry also said The Bahamas government recognised concerns around Omicron and is further supporting Bahamians with the distribution of medical-grade masks, which will help reduce risk and safeguard capacity at hospitals and medical facilities.

Masks are being distributed by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) at clinics and vaccine sites.

Due to the fluidity of COVID-19, the government of The Bahamas will continue to monitor islands individually and enact protective measures to address specific cases or spikes accordingly. For an overview of The Bahamas’ travel and entry protocols, please visit Bahamas.com/travel updates, the ministry said.

Comments

whogothere 7 months, 1 week ago

Get over yourself CDC - you've been wrong since 2020...

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tribanon 7 months, 1 week ago

USA needs to drop all travel bans and testing requirements because they are not supported by the science, are outright discriminatory and are now being used for political purposes alone. US citizens have allowed themselves to become serfs of their Federal government.

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Proguing 7 months, 1 week ago

And to think Biden promised he had a plan to 'Shut Down the Virus' if elected and blamed Trump for Covid deaths.

Well now more people have died of Covid in the USA under Biden than Trump and we have record infection rates despite the vaccine rollout. Poor Biden, he can't blame Trump anymore. Strange how the media is totally silent about this fact....

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Bahamasbound 7 months, 1 week ago

Exuma Immigration Officials continue to restrict and discourage arriving homeowners. For example, my wife and I arrived at the Exuma Airport on Feb. 5,2022 with 32 day return tickets. The Immigration office was unfriendly and said we could only stay 15 days. Arriving homeowners are increasing being scolded, frowned at and told they will not be allowed to stay the length of time requested on arrivals. I have been a property owner for 25 years and often come for 30 to 40 day stays. I, like all other property owners, pay extremely high property taxes, utility bills, insurance, high annual vehicle license fees and cost of living expenses. The property owners are the people who support the Island Government, Bahamian business as well as hiring locals on a continued basis for property repairs, yard work etc. All of our neighbors are being treated the same way and are extremely disappointed. Believe me IT IS NOT BETTER IN THE BAHAMAS especially in Exuma.

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Proguing 7 months, 1 week ago

They must be upset with Biden’s failed promises to end Covid-19...

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CoolCatBD 7 months, 1 week ago

What was the reason given???

"we could only stay 15 days"

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 1 week ago

this sounds extremely odd. would like to hear both sides. I've never heard a tourism official discouraging a legal tourist from a longer stay

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CoolCatBD 7 months, 1 week ago

What was the reason given???

"we could only stay 15 days"

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