NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Acting Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson yesterday said the government’s newly announced travel protocols include private health insurance that would provide a per diem to visitors who test positive but are asymptomatic.
His comments came in response to criticism over proposed payouts to COVID positive tourists.
During the Exuma Business Outlook, tourism director general Joy Jibrilu said if a visitor arrives in The Bahamas and tests positive but is asymptomatic, they will be allowed to quarantine in place and a per diem will be paid.
Johnson explained, in a series of Facebook replies on the matter, that the per diem to be paid would be covered in the health insurance included in the Health Visa required for entry into The Bahamas.
The Ministry of Tourism has announced a new travel protocol that would require individuals entering the country to have a negative RTPCR test no longer than seven days before travel, apply for a health visa, and take a rapid test on arrival and four days (96 hours) after arrival.
The health travel visa inclusive of a five-day rapid antigen test and mandatory health insurance will cost $55 for visitors staying up to four nights and five days, with the same cost for citizens and returning residents.
For visitors staying more than four nights and five days, the cost will be $80.
Johnson noted that insurance coverage will be part of the health visa.
“That insurance coverage will cover all related expenses at no cost to the government,” he said.
He furthered that the scheme includes an insurance policy from a private insurer. That private insurance coverage programme is expected to cover travel and transport expenses for individuals who are away from home.
“The cost is $25 and it is mandatory for visitors come Sunday,” Johnson said.
He added that those individuals would be housed at special quarantine facilities that will be established in the major resorts with the appropriate protocols.
Jibrilu advised on Thursday that American Airlines has decided to scrap its pre-flight COVID-19 tests on passengers to this destination.
She noted that the tourism and health officials are looking to see how entry protocols can be streamlined even further to allow for a better visitor experience.
The 14-day quarantine period is expected to be removed and replaced with the new testing protocol on November 1.
The government has issued the latest emergency orders outlining a marginal range of eased restrictions for Abaco and New Providence while maintaining quarantine protocols.
The Ministry of Tourism will hold a press conference on its November 1 opening today.