BATED BREATH: Bahamas officials await pending COVID-related changes to US policy for international travelers

BATED BREATH: Bahamas officials await pending COVID-related changes to US policy for international travelers
(FILE)

Biden administration reportedly considering barring non-vaccinated international travelers from entering the USA

“The state department and White House have not yet finalized the policy”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Ambassador to the United States Sidney Collie said yesterday Bahamian officials are monitoring and awaiting a change in policy for the US to require proof of vaccination for international travelers.

A Reuters exclusive story on Wednesday revealed that the Biden administration in working on a plan that would require all visitors to be fully vaccinated against the virus in order to eventually lift travel restrictions that bar much of the world from entering the country.

Bahamas Ambassador to the United States Sidney Collie.

Speaking to Eyewitness News on the matter, Collie confirmed that officials are awaiting the completion of the policy to see the way forward.

“They are going to amend their travel advisory for all international passengers coming into the United States to at least have the first shot of the vaccine,” he said.

“They have not put out publicly yet which vaccines will be acceptable in this new advisory.

“As you are aware, you will have global travelers from China, Russia and all of the world who may be vaccinated with other vaccines.

“…All the policy has said so far, that I’m aware of, is that foreign travelers will have to be vaccinated with at least the first dose.”

Collie noted that US officials are also looking at testing requirements and how they are going to incorporate it into the vaccination requirement in the new policy.

“The state department and White House have not yet finalized the policy. They are still working through it,” he said.

The move comes as the world continues to see rising COVID-19 cases due to the highly transmissible COVID-19 delta variant.

There are concerns the delta variant could become the dominant strain across the globe due its rapid spread.

While health officials have not confirmed the presence of the delta variant in country, they have urged Bahamians to err on the side of caution and follow all public health protocols — even if vaccinated.

The Bahamas at currently at a Level 3 Travel Health Notice due to COVID-19, indicating a high level of COVID-19 in the country.

It is currently in a surge, on Friday recording 228 COVID-19 cases on Thursday — the highest number of cases recorded in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

The cases included 164 on New Providence, 20 on Eleuthera, 15 on Abaco, 12 on Exuma, 11 on Grand Bahama and three each on Andros and Bimini & Cat Cay.

About Sloan Smith

ssmith@ewnews.com Sloan has spent the past four years as a lead news writer immersed in the field, covering a range of investigative breaking news developments. She produces daily salient pieces on natural disasters, crime, politics, policy, human-interest, and socioeconomic realities.