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D’Aguilar: Bahamas may need to limit access to points of entry

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday the government should consider limiting access to points of entry in The Bahamas following the resurgence of COVID-19.

“It’s a very difficult nut to crack given it’s an archipelagic country,” D’Aguilar said.

“We’ve got all these different entry points where people can just come in and so that makes it difficult to sometimes monitor.”

He added, “If having all these points of entry is an issue, then perhaps we should limit the points of entry. So, then, you think about all these things.

“You say, ‘Well, maybe you have to enter here, get all your paperwork in order and then you can go to the other far-flung parts of our country.”

D’Aguilar said the government should “maybe not contemplate” allowing the return of individuals who had short-term stays in COVID hotspots.

The government had allowed Bahamians and residents traveling for 72 hours or less to return without a COVID-19 test.

As of yesterday, international commercial flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers are not permitted to enter the country’s borders, except for commercial flights from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

Private international flights and charters for Bahamians, residents and visitors are permitted.

Pleasure craft and yachts are also permitted.

All returning Bahamians, residents and visitors by air or sea from overseas will require a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result from an accredited lab.

Individuals traveling to The Bahamas are required to provide a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test that is no older than 10 days old.

The government had previously announced that that requirement would change to require tests no older than seven days old. However, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis later rescinded that decision.

Yesterday, D’Aguilar said, “One of the reasons we had the test go to 10 days is because people were having difficulty getting the test. Well, that may be a way to limit people.

“If you bring it down to five days or six days or seven days or whatever, well then, it’s difficult to get back within that window. But, that causes a tightening of the regulations.

“So, all of us sitting in the Cabinet never had to deal with this. We’re all trying to find the right formula.”

The Bahamas has had a total of 219 confirmed cases with 25 recorded yesterday.

One hundred and fifteen cases have been confirmed in the last two weeks. Prior to that, in a nearly four-month period, 104 cases had been reported.

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