MINIMAL RISK FACTOR: UK official doesn’t foresee travel advisories against Bahamas…for now

MINIMAL RISK FACTOR: UK official doesn’t foresee travel advisories against Bahamas…for now
(FILE)

Dickson: There is a weekly review process given changing nature of pandemic

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — British High Commissioner to The Bahamas Sarah Dickson said on Thursday that she does not anticipate the United Kingdom changing its travel rating for The Bahamas.

This despite an ongoing surge of cases that has been attributed to the omicron variant and activities over the holidays.

I haven’t heard anything that makes me think The Bahamas presents a risk factor to the UK that would involve new travel restrictions.

– UK High Commissioner Sarah Dickson

“Not that I am aware of,” she told Eyewitness News when contacted for comment.

“There is a scientific process in the UK that also does weekly analysis of countries’ healthcare capacity, variants that they’ve got — that kind of thing — and those criteria are on the government website and lists them out, and embassies and high commissions all over the world, we contribute information to that.

British High Commissioner to The Bahamas Sarah Dickson.

“But a lot of that information is publicly available via in The Bahamas’ the dashboards, and then they work out the risk factors to the UK of various countries.

“I haven’t heard anything that makes me think The Bahamas presents a risk factor to the UK that would involve new travel restrictions being put on Bahamians or Brits or people from The Bahamas traveling to the UK.

“I haven’t heard anything that would make me think that’s likely, but, of course, you know what COVID is like and every single week something happens and that is why it is a weekly [review] process.”

The omicron variant has not been confirmed as samples sent abroad for genome sequencing have yet to be reported on, but health officials said the epidemiology of the fourth wave is reflective of the highly contagious strain.

Between January 1 and 5, The Bahamas recorded more than 1,800 new infections.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) once again revised its travel rating for The Bahamas from Level 2 to Level 3 — a potential deterrent to travelers.

The Bahamas postponed the introduction of mandatory RT-PCR tests for all travelers entering the nation to the end of the month, on the basis that tests and the turnaround time for results remain challenged in numerous jurisdictions.

The reintroduced testing requirement was initially set to take effect today.

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There is a scientific process in the UK that also does weekly analysis of countries’ healthcare capacity, variants that they’ve got — that kind of thing.

– UK High Commissioner Sarah Dickson

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Vaccinated travelers, as well as children ages two through 11, may continue to present either a negative rapid antigen test or negative RT-PCR test in the meantime.

In addition, effective Tuesday, anyone remaining in The Bahamas for longer than 48 hours will be required to undergo a rapid antigen test, regardless of vaccination status.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has determined that new travel restrictions are not needed at this time to fight the omicron variant, despite a significant surge of cases.

In England, fully vaccinated travelers under the age of 18 are not required to obtain a pre-departure test, and travelers have up to two days upon arrival to obtain a rapid antigen test.

England maintains a high level of vaccination, including booster shots.

About Royston Jones Jr.

Royston Jones Jr. is a senior digital reporter and occasional TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. Since joining Eyewitness News as a digital reporter in 2018, he has done both digital and broadcast reporting, notably providing the electoral analysis for Eyewitness News’ inaugural election night coverage, “Decision Now 2021”.