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Americans told avoid Bahamas

Just over two weeks after The Bahamas announced a ban on commercial travel from the United States and a host of other jurisdictions then quickly reversed course, the country has been named by the US as one of the places Americans should not visit due to COVID-19.

The US, which is the world’s COVID-19 epicenter, has placed The Bahamas at a Level 4, advising Americans not to travel to the nearby island-nation, which is battling a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Americans are also advised against travel to other countries due to COVID-19; among them, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Haiti, Cuba, Mexico and Honduras. 

The advisory came as the department yesterday lifted its Global Level 4 Health Advisory – issued on March 19 – which advised US citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.

In a statement, US Embassy Public Affairs Officer Daniel Durazo said, “With conditions improving in some countries while potentially deteriorating in others, the department has returned to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice — with levels from 1-4 depending on country-specific conditions — in order to give travelers detailed and actionable information they need to make informed travel decisions.

“We continue to recommend US citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic. 

“Under this return to 

country-specific levels of travel advice, the travel advisory for The Bahamas is now Level 4 (do not travel) due to health and safety measures and COVID-related conditions; US citizens are advised to exercise increased caution in The Bahamas due to crime (the same as before the pandemic).”

The Bahamas is currently under a two-week lockdown due to the exponential increase in COVID-19 since fully reopening its borders on July 1.

Up to July 7, The Bahamas had 104 cases. The country recorded an additional 647 cases between July 8 and August 5.  Ten more were recorded yesterday.

In the advisory, the department noted that travelers to The Bahamas “may experience travel prohibitions, stay-at-home orders, business closures and other emergency conditions within The Bahamas due to COVID-19”.

On July 19, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced a ban on commercial flights and vessels from all countries, excluding Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The ban, which was reversed a few days later, raised eyebrows by some members of the public as the United States is the country’s largest tourism market.

Latest travel protocols require visitors entering The Bahamas to test for COVID-19 in advance and quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. 

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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