MOFA: No position yet on U.S./Bahamas travel

MOFA: No position yet on U.S./Bahamas travel
Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield (file photo)

Bahamas Miami Consul General warns against non-essential travel to Florida

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield said yesterday that the government has yet to determine an official position on travel to COVID-19 hotspots in the United States.

Henfield noted that the prime minister chaired a meeting yesterday with the Minister of Tourism, Minister of Immigration, health officials, and others to discuss how Bahamians travel and how to treat the continued to travel from the United States to The Bahamas.

He was asked whether the government is considering implementing travel bans or restrictions on hotspots.

“We are still consulting on these issues,” he said.

On Saturday, Florida  – the new epicenter of the virus – recorded the largest single-day increase in positive COVID-19 cases across the U.S. with 15,299 confirmed cases.

Yesterday, the state recorded over 12,500 coronavirus cases bringing the statewide total to over 282,000 cases.

The U.S had more than 3.3 million confirmed cases up to yesterday, with COVID-19 hotspots also in Texas, California, and Arizona.

Henfield said: “As you can imagine the challenge for us in this environment that has become very emotive and constantly changing, so we are going to have to continue to adjust as we go.”

“The priority for us, the government, is to keep Bahamians safe and at the same time look at how we can keep our economy in a place that is manageable.”

He said the Ministry of Health will advise more directly on the way forward.

Henfield’s comments came after strong warnings from Bahamas Consul General in Miami Linda Treco-Mackey against traveling to Florida for non-emergencies.

“The risk is high but I want Bahamians to know that if you’re coming to at least know that we sounded the alarm to say be careful and only do it if you have to,” Treco-Mackey told Eyewitness News.

“The numbers are not going down and I think in light of that I am still recommending Bahamians only travel for essential purposes.”

Just over two weeks ago, the prime minister urged Bahamians and residents to reconsider any non-essential travel abroad and encouraged domestic travel instead.

The number of cases in The Bahamas stands at 113 after officials confirmed two new cases on Grand Bahama yesterday.

Grand Bahama has seen a spike in new cases with eight cases in six days.

There have been 16 confirmed cases in Grand Bahama, 83 in New Providence, one in Cat Cay, and 13 on Bimini.