NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Confused and frustrated parents waited hours outside of Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) for their children and other loved ones to arrive from Grand Bahama, only to be told last night the group had to quarantine in a government facility.
When Eyewitness News arrived at the airport, police officers were escorting waves of passengers onto several police buses that drove off in intervals with police escort.
Danesha Lewis, 32, said she had not seen or heard from her 11-year-old son since he was checked in as an unaccompanied minor on a Bahamasair flight from Grand Bahama to New Providence around 3pm.
She spoke to Eyewitness News outside the international arrivals terminal after 9pm.
Lewis, who claimed her son possessed the relevant travel documents and health visa, said she was not advised by the airline or any other official that her son would be required to quarantine upon arrival.
“I am a concerned mother, especially if he is going to go where other people are who already have this to do, and he has not been traveling,” she said.
“So, how does this work? He is a child. They don’t inform you. I am here to pick up my minor and they tell me he is going to be quarantined. I am just waiting to see what is going on.”
She continued: “I don’t even know if they fed my son. My 11-year-old been in the airport from Freeport from after 3pm for a 4pm flight. It’s almost 10pm.
“Curfew is almost going on. I am getting a ticket because it’s almost 10pm and I am going to be on the road following one of these bus. I don’t know if my son ate yet. I don’t know if he has water. I don’t know if he is okay. What is going on?
“They ain’t bringing him out yet. What’s happening? From 7pm, they left Grand Bahama. It’s almost 10pm and they ain’t saying nothing to the parents.”
Up to press time, attempts to reach authorities on the matter were unsuccessful.
Another mother, who said she was waiting for her 17-year-old son, claims she purchased a ticket on Monday for him to return from Fort Lauderdale to New Providence ahead of the border shutdown to commercial carriers from the US, which took effect at midnight.
“Now, I understood the flight went to Freeport,” she said.
“How the flight could go to Freeport and I never paid for that.
“How they could carry him on a flight to Freeport when I paid for a flight to come straight from Fort Lauderdale straight here.
“And now, he is on this quarantine.”
Asked whether her son had a negative COVID-19 test as required by the government to enter The Bahamas, the mother took out a copy of the document confirming the negative test.
Another woman, who did not wish to be named, said her 10-year-old daughter had traveled to New Providence to celebrate her brother’s second birthday on Sunday.
She told Eyewitness News she had been waiting in the area from 4.45pm.
“I want to know about my minor,” she said.
“I have the right to ask about my child who is supposed to be in the back there. And, the inspector said they have to be quarantine and we have to follow the bus down to Breezes, and they didn’t say nothing else.
“I don’t know when I get down to Breezes what it’s going to be. It’s curfew at 10pm. This is really bad. She was just coming from Freeport to Nassau.”
Meanwhile, Durrel Gray said he had not heard from his wife and two children — aged five and 12-year-old — who were vacationing in Grand Bahama.
After speaking with several officers inside the terminal, Gray claimed he was advised that everyone who arrives from Grand Bahama will be quarantined, processed.
He said he was told some people may be released today to self-quarantine at home.
Gray said he was told the quarantine was necessary because of the high rate of cases in Grand Bahama.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced a ban on all international commercial flights and vessels, with the exception of carriers from Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union.
Private international flights and charters, as well as private pleasure craft and yachts from all countries may still to enter The Bahamas.
Yesterday, the prime minister announced Grand Bahama will be placed on a two-week lockdown beginning Thursday, July 23 at 7pm through August 7 at 5am.
Minnis said Grand Bahama will be closed to all domestic flights at 6pm yesterday.