A COVID-19-positive man who traveled from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Bahama on Bahamasair on Friday was not on the manifest and was told by a doctor and the Bahamas Consulate in Miami that he was not to travel, The Nassau Guardian was told by a source familiar with the matter last night.
It is unknown how the man got on the flight the Bahamas government sent to bring Bahamian citizens and residents home given that he was not on the manifest.
In a national address yesterday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the government has temporarily suspended exercises to bring Bahamians who are stuck abroad back home due to the incident.
“The agreement with those wishing to return is that no one who tested positive to the virus would be allowed on a repatriation flight,” Minnis said.
“However, it was discovered after the aircraft landed that one COVID-19-positive passenger was on the flight to Grand Bahama. We are investigating to see how the individual was allowed to board the flight. Three individuals traveled with this passenger.
“All four of these individuals have been tested again on arrival. We are awaiting the test results. All passengers wore PPEs (personal protective equipment) during the flight, which decreases the risk of exposure. All passengers on the flight will remain in quarantine and will continue to be monitored.”
It is unclear when the man tested positive for COVID-19.
The prime minister said 51 people disembarked on Grand Bahama and 44 disembarked on New Providence.
He said health officials will continue to keep the public informed on the matter.
“Pending the investigation and review of this matter, I have advised the airline and was also advised by the health officials to temporarily suspend the repatriation flights, which we will resume as soon as health officials advise,” Minnis said.
“We will advise when the repatriation flights may resume.”
The government brought 183 Bahamians and residents back to The Bahamas on Friday.
Those individuals, who had been trapped abroad since borders closed in March, were required to test negative for COVID-19 before boarding a Bahamasair flight back to The Bahamas.
They were also required to enter 14-day quarantine at home or at a government facility upon arrival to The Bahamas.
Minnis said 124 individuals are quarantined at home and 59 are quarantined at a government facility.
He also noted that the government has provided assistance to “a number of Bahamians” stuck abroad in recent weeks.
“The government paid for hotel accommodations and food for a number of Bahamians who required assistance while overseas pending their return home,” Minnis said.
“The government also paid for the COVID-19 tests.”