Nearly 200 Bahamian nationals and residents return home
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The first round of repatriations amid the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, saw nearly 200 people flown into the country and bussed to the facility where they will be quarantined for the next 14-days.
Beginning in Fort Lauderdale from 6am Friday, returning residents boarded a morning and evening flight which took them either to the domestic terminal at Lynden Pindling International Airport in New Providence or the Grand Bahama International Airport.
By the time the first flight arrived shortly after 11am in New Providence, police officers had already barricaded the entrance to the terminal and several large Majestic Tours buses were waiting on the tarmac.
Upon their arrival, all of the passengers were screened at the airport by Ministry of Health officials and then transported to the government-operated quarantine facility for evaluation.
They were taken to SuperClub Breezes in Cable Beach for processing – where they offloaded their possessions and braced for the days-long stay.
The residents are expected to remain at the facility until health officials determine if it is safe to leave.
Officials have advised that some residents may be able to quarantine at home under certain circumstances.
The facility is being heavily guarded by Royal Bahamas Defense Force officers.
Despite being grateful to finally be home, some of those residents expressed disappointment and displeasure with the quarantine accommodations.
A new mother of a six-week-old, who spoke to Eyewitness News, said she believes that she and others should have been allowed to quarantine at home.
She took issue with the fact that other residents were allowed to enter the country and self-quarantine at home, insisting that they should have been given the same courtesy.
“These rooms are really horrible, really moldy” she said.
“…There’s no hot water for me to make her bottle. No microwave, nothing.”
In a now widely circulated video, one of the residents could be heard disparaging the resort and rooms.
The unidentified woman noted that the room was “moldy” and the bed was “very hard”.
She also seemed to take issue with the essential supplies she and other residents were given for their stay, including toiletries, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies.
Another woman called the contactless delivery of food containers on the floor of her room door, “very inhumane”.
“We are dogs,” she could be heard saying.
“Y’all wouldn’t want to be eating like this. This is unfair to us Bahamians. This is how they delivering food.”
Meanwhile, some of the returning residents on Grand Bahama expressed gratitude for “a free trip home, a hot and rather tasty meal, showing compassion, a cute little gift, and offering additional assistance.”