NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced today that 190 Bahamian nationals and residents will be brought home from Florida on a Bahamasair flight on Friday.
The humanitarian flight represents the first phase of an exercise to bring back Bahamians stuck abroad due to the coronavirus.
This comes over a week after Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that the government will facilitate the return of hundreds of Bahamians from around the world amidst global COVID-19 travel restrictions.
In a statement on the humanitarian flights, the ministry noted that all of those who will return home have tested negative for COVID-19 and have agreed to adhere to the strict regime determined by the Ministry of Health.
It said the immediate focus was to organize the return of those in Florida, more specifically South Florida, West Palm Beach and Miami.
Last week, Consul General in Miami Linda Treco-Mackey told Eyewitness News that more than 400 Bahamians registered to come home, adding that the consulate was receiving more than 200 calls per day.
“Government facilities will be provided for quarantine when that determination is made by the Ministry of Health,” the statement said.
“Though these persons would have been tested negative for COVID-19, protocols have been put in place to ensure that anti COVID-19 spreading measures are practiced while they proceed to their eventual destinations.”
The ministry advised that the repatriation exercises will be done in a “phased and orderly manner”, depending on registration data received from the Embassies and Consulates abroad.
The ministry is also expected to launch a new web page on its website to support the online repatriation registration process and help to expedite it.
On March 27, the government announced a nationwide shutdown, closing the country to all incoming passengers in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in The Bahamas.
Since the closure of the borders, Bahamians worldwide have continually echoed calls for the government to let them return home.