FOR PROTECTION: Bahamas taking “additional precautions” as country joins CDC’s highest-risk destinations list

FOR PROTECTION: Bahamas taking “additional precautions” as country joins CDC’s highest-risk destinations list
An aerial photo of islands in the Exuma chain, near Staniel Cay.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas is taking additional precautions to ensure that “safety remains of the utmost importance” with stringent protocols in place to enter the country, the Ministry of Tourism said yesterday.

The statement followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) increasing its travel recommendations to “Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19 in The Bahamas” and the US Department of State advising Americans not to travel to the country.

In its assessment of COVID-19 in The Bahamas, the CDC said: “Avoid travel to The Bahamas. If you must travel to The Bahamas, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel. Because of the current situation in The Bahamas, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.”

The CDC also added Morocco, Sint Maarten, Haiti, Kosovo and Lebanon to its Level 4 list.

The list, which ranges from “Level 1: Low” to “Level 4: Very High”, has over 70 countries in total.

The Bahamas was among several other Caribbean countries added to the “Do Not Travel” list.

The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation’s statement read: “With the delta variant leading to an increase in cases across the globe, The Bahamas is taking additional precautions to ensure that safety remains of the utmost importance, with stringent entry protocols in place.

“Most recently, protocols were updated to require all travelers — both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated as well as children ages two to 11 — to obtain a negative COVID-19 test, either a rapid antigen test or PCR test, taken no more than five days prior to the date of arrival in The Bahamas.”

The ministry said the entry measures, combined with on island-restrictions as necessary, will help protect residents across the archipelago.

“Due to the fluidity of COVID-19, the government of The Bahamas monitors islands individually and can quickly enact protective measures to address specific cases or spikes accordingly,” it said.

“As the situation continues to evolve, officials will monitor cases across the island and assess protocols and restrictions as needed.”

Last week, the competent authority revised the curfew for Exuma, Abaco and Andros to an 8pm to 5am curfew. An amendment to the emergency orders also introduced restrictions for cruise liners porting in The Bahamas, including a requirement for all passengers over the age of 12 to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to enter the country.

The ministry also said the government is partnering with private healthcare providers to maximize administration of the vaccine and increase uptake, and it continues to encourage adherence to health protocols that “help keep you and your fellow Bahamians safe”.

The Bahamas has recorded 2,625 cases this month so far, an increase of 20 percent since last month with a week remaining.

A total of 2,185 cases were recorded in July.