The Bahamas Officially Bans Americans from Visiting amid Coronavirus Pandemic
The Caribbean country will still allow visitors from Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union.
The Bahamas is officially closing its borders to American tourists amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced in a national address that due to the continued increase of COVID-19 cases in the United States and an uptick of cases in The Bahamas, officials have decided to bar international commercial flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers from the U.S. effective Wednesday, July 22 at midnight.
"Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy. It has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders," Minnis explained. "Our current situation demands decisive action, if we are to avoid being overrun and defeated by this virus. We cannot allow our hospitals to be overrun. Many priorities must be balanced, be they health, social and economic. Chief amongst these though is the health. We cannot risk the death of Bahamians and our residents. We must be resolved in our collective willingness to save lives."
The country also ceased all outgoing Bahamasair airline flights to the U.S., effective immediately. They will resume flights to accommodate any current visitors scheduled to return to the United States after Wednesday, July 22.
It will still allow visitors from Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union.
The Caribbean country will still allow visitors from Canada, the United Kingdom and the European UnionVisitors from permitted countries, citizens and residents will now be required to have a negative COVID-19 test result to enter the country without being subject to a mandated 14-day quarantine.
"All returning Bahamians, residents and visitors by air or sea from overseas will require a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result from an accredited lab," Minnis added. "You will be required to present your documents to immigration officials upon arrival. These tests must be taken no later than 10 days before the date of travel."
Any returning Bahamians and residents who have not tested negative for the virus prior to returning will have to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return, which will be monitored via the Hubbcat Monitoring App.
Travelers who do not agree to Hubcatt monitoring will be quarantined at "a Government-identified facility at their own expense," Minnis said.
Days before Minnis's announcement, one of the most popular Bahamas resorts, Atlantis Paradise Island, revealed it would be extending its closure amid the pandemic.
“We have made the difficult decision to extend Atlantis’s closure, prioritizing the health and safety of our team, our guests, and our community first. While we are excited and energized by the opportunity to welcome our guests with warm Bahamian hospitality, we believe that extending our closure is in the best interest of public health at this time,” said Audrey Oswell, President and Managing Director of Atlantis, in a statement.
The resort said its decision was made due to the growing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., one of the resort's key markets.
As of Monday afternoon, the U.S. has had more than 3.78 million reported coronavirus cases and 140,373 Americans have died, according to New York Times data.
U.S residents are currently not welcome in most countries worldwide because of the failure to contain the virus. It was announced on June 30 that American visitors would not be allowed to visit the European Union, which opened to visitors from select countries whose coronavirus cases were under a certain threshold.
As of publishing, several Caribbean countries, Mexico and a handful of international destinations like Serbia, Tanzania and Maldives are still accepting U.S. visitors, though this is subject to change at any time.
The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDC, WHO, and their local public health department as resources.
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