Foreign Affairs reviewing the matter
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas has been lumped in with other countries, like the United States, who will be unable to travel to a bloc of European Union countries slated to reopen tomorrow.
The coronavirus epidemiology of the Americas vastly differs from that of The Bahamas, which has not had a new case since June 14.
The European Union announced it will reopen its borders to travelers from 15 countries, but most of the Americas will be shut out for another two weeks at least due to soaring cases of COVID-19.
An approved list for EU member-states was published today.
These countries, including Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
China was also included, though its approval was subject to “confirmation of reciprocity”.
These jurisdictions were considered as safe due to their epidemiological circumstances related to the virus.
However, citizens from these countries must, as protocol, must contact the EU country they intend to visit as members states still possess the authority to exclude some countries from the list from entering their borders.
The recommendations are not legally binding.
When contacted, Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials said the matter was under review.
As part of its approval process, countries allowed to visit the bloc of EU countries must have had a rate of infections over the last two week close or below the EU average; stable or decreasing trend of new cases over the period in comparison to the previous two weeks; and an over response to the virus taking into account aspects such as testing; surveillance; contact tracing; containment; treatment; reporting and an average score for International Health Regulations.
According to the EU, a travelers’ residence and not nationality should be considered for entry.
“A member state should not decide to lift the travel restrictions for non-listed third countries before this has been decided in a coordinated manner,” the EU said in a statement.
“This list of third countries should be reviewed every two weeks and may be updated by the council, as the case may be, after close consultations with the commission and the relevant EU agencies and services following an overall assessment based on the criteria above.
“Travel restrictions may be totally or partially lifted or reintroduced for a specific third country already listed according to changes in some of the conditions and, as a consequence, in the assessment of the epidemiological situation.
“If the situation in a listed third country worsens quickly, rapid decision-making should be applied”
With over 2.5 million cases, the US has the highest number of confirmed infections and COVID-19-related deaths globally — with Arizona, Florida and Texas becoming new epicenters.
The Bahamas had five active cases as of Monday, and a total of 104 cases since mid-March.
The last confirmed case was recorded over two weeks ago.
There have been only four new infections since the end of May.
The Bahamas, however, will reopen its borders to commercial carriers as of July 1 — welcoming visitors from across the globe once they test negative for the virus within 10 days of entry.
This includes the US.
Global cases surpassed 10 million on Sunday.
There are exceptions to the restrictions.
Citizens of the United Kingdom, as well as family members, are exempted and treated as EU national until the end of the Brexit transition period at the end of December.
Independent of the purpose of travel, union citizens and third-country national, who, under agreements between the union and its members states, as well as those who enjoy rights of free movement equivalent to the those of union citizens, as well as their respective family are exempted from the travel restrictions.
For example, residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican/Holy See are considered as EU residents.
In mid-March, EU recommended a temporary restriction of all non-essential travel from third countries into the EU for one month — a measure that was agreed, implemented and later extended until June 30.