Bahamas Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced that all commercial flights from the USA and other countries will be suspended. The bold move to bar travel from a list of countries was announced on Sunday during a national address.
The suspension takes effect on Wednesday at midnight and applies to all commercial flights and vessels from all countries, including the USA, with the exception of Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union.
Since The Bahamas reopened its borders on July 1, the country have recorded 49 new cases of COVID-19, taking the total number of cases to 153 at the time of the address. Minnis stated that many of the new cases were traced to Bahamians returning to the country. The island of Grand Bahama has been hard hit with 31 new cases in the past two weeks, sparking renewed stringent measures to curb transmission of the virus.
In his address, the Prime Minister also announced the implementation of fines to airlines and sea ferries which breach protocols. Bahamas implemented new travel protocols which requires travelers to present a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test before traveling to the country.
Minnis made it clear that it is an offence for airlines to transport passengers to The Bahamas who are not wearing facemasks or have not presented the health certificate from an accredited laboratory.
Additional measures taken by Bahamas include the closing of public beaches on the islands of New Providence, Paradise Island, Athol Island and Grand Bahama.
With its close proximity to the USA, The Bahamas attracts a large volume of tourists from that country and the tourism industry will take a hard hit with the new travel suspension.