GROUNDED: Bahamas joins CDC’s “Do Not Travel” list; US State Dept hands down Level 4 advisory

GROUNDED: Bahamas joins CDC’s “Do Not Travel” list; US State Dept hands down Level 4 advisory
(PHOTO: JETKAT VIA SHUTTERSTOCK)

Bahamas has recorded 2,625 cases in August thus far — 20 percent more than last month

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States has added The Bahamas to its “Do Not Travel” list, citing the “very high level of COVID-19 in the country”.

The US Department of State, which closely reflects the CDC, revised its travel advisory for The Bahamas from “Level 3: Exercise increased caution” to “Level 4: Do not travel”.

The advisory noted that the risk of contracting the virus or developing severe symptoms may be lowered for individuals who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine.

Local health officials have said The Bahamas remains in a surge, attributing the raging cases to increased travel, COVID-19 variants and clusters within workplaces, construction sites and social and communal gatherings

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.

Another 159 infections were recorded on Sunday.

These included 117 on New Providence, 15 on Abaco, 12 on Andros, eight on Grand Bahama, three on Bimini and Cat Cay, two on the Berry Islands and one each on Exuma and Eleuthera.

Another 139 cases were hospitalized, with 11 in Intensive Care Units (ICU).

A total of 3,356 cases remain active, with just three cases recovering Sunday.

The CDC added seven countries to its very high COVID-19 travel risk listing last week.

These included destinations such as Aruba, France, Iceland, Israel and Thailand.

The list has over 70 countries in total.

In a statement, the US Embassy in Nassau said as travelers face ongoing risks due to the pandemic, the travel advisory “closely reflects the Centers for Disease and Prevention’s science-based travel health notices that outline current health issues affecting travelers’ health”.

It noted that the CDC recommends that Americans do not travel internationally until fully vaccinated.

“Moreover, even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some COVID-19 variants, and we recommend US citizens delay travel unless absolutely necessary,” it said.

“If US citizens do travel, we urge them to follow all CDC recommendations.”

The Bahamas recorded more than 1,600 cases in August 2020, around the peak of the second wave.

The nation recorded around 1,900 cases in September 2020 and just over 2,600 cases in October 2020.

 

Caution

The department maintained its warning to Americans to exercise caution in some areas of The Bahamas due to crime.

It said while the vast majority of crime occurs on New Providence and Grand Bahama, extreme caution ought to be exercised in inner-city communities known as Over-the-Hill, south of Shirley Street.

“Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies and sexual assault occur, but generally not in tourist areas,” the department said.

“Activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated.

“Watercraft are often not maintained, and many companies do not have safety certifications to operate in The Bahamas.

“Jet-ski operators have been known to commit sexual assaults against tourists.

“As a result, US government personnel are not permitted to use independently operated jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.”

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