NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The recent US Department of State Level 4 travel advisory on The Bahamas was “inevitable” given the tremendous surge in COVID-19 cases, Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday.
The minister noted that this nation continues to walk a “fine line” in balancing economic and health concerns amid the pandemic.
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.
D’Aguilar stated: “We went to a Level 4. It was inevitable. The number of positive cases have been increasing for quite some time. That’s why the message from the government has constantly been to get vaccinated.
“The only way we are going to reduce the level of positive cases is if everyone heads the call of the prime minister to go and get vaccinated.”
D’Aguilar added: “We are walking that fine line the prime minister keeps talking about. We have to keep our economy open because we need to live and we need to eat, but at the same time maintaining some safety in our health protocols.”
D’Aguilar was also asked about when this nation will begin collecting overflight fees.
In response, he said: “We are going through the mechanics of setting all of that up. I expect that in the 30 days or so, we’d receive funds from that, which will be a huge boon to the Bahamian people.
“For the first time ever, we will be receiving money for our natural resources, which is the space above us. This will be the first time we ever earn anything from it.”
Managing its own airspace could yield this nation $300 to $350 million a year, D’Aguilar previously stated.