American Embassy: No plans to evacuate U.S. citizens

The U.S. government does not intend to evacuate any Americans that may still be in The Bahamas during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Embassy in Nassau said, adding that citizens should either shelter in place or find their way out of the country as soon as possible.

The warning was issued via a health alert statement following Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ announcement of a five-day shutdown of all services in the country, with few exceptions, beginning tonight at 9 p.m.

“International scheduled commercial flights and private charter flight options, while limited, currently exist in The Bahamas,” the statement read.

“U.S. citizens who wish to return to the United States should make commercial arrangements as soon as possible unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.

“The U.S. government does not anticipate arranging repatriation flights in The Bahamas at this time.”

It added, “Commercial flights, if and when scheduled, are subject to cancellation at the last minute and some upcoming flights are already sold out.

“The availability of flights to the United States continues to diminish and has the potential to cease at any moment and without notice due to a lack of passenger volume, due to the restrictions in effect on incoming international flights, and due to lock down periods.”

As of March 24, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis ordered a 24-hour curfew – the closure of airports, docks and ports throughout the country, with few exceptions, in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19.

That was taken further a few days later when the government decided to shut down borders for all incoming people, including Bahamian residents and citizens; only allowing empty airplanes to arrive to carry passengers out of the country.

The order was ramped up to a complete shutdown over the weekend, which will now be repeated from 9 p.m. tonight until 5 a.m. on Tuesday, April 14.

It will also be repeated every weekend for the remainder of the month.

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