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Govt disables quarantine facilities

Bahamian citizens and residents will no longer have to quarantine upon returning to The Bahamas, but they are still expected to test negative for COVID-19 before coming home, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has announced.

The government disabled its quarantine facilities on Friday.

“Returning Bahamians and residents will no longer be required to quarantine on returning home, but will be monitored by the Ministry of Health’s Surveillance Unit and Hubbcat monitoring app if necessary,” Minnis said at a press conference on Thursday.

Responding to a question, the prime minister said, “The policy is that residents are still required to obtain a COVID negative test and, as you know, that would’ve been spoken to also by the minister of tourism when he spoke about what would happen with the yachts and the private aircraft coming in.”

In late-March, the government closed the borders in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The government has allowed several special flights to bring Bahamians and permanent residents to the country. 

At a press conference last week, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar announced that a phased opening of the tourism industry will start June 15.

“Before the proposed general opening of our borders on the first of July, it is intended that there be a phased opening of the tourism sector prior to this date,” D’Aguilar said.

“This phased approach will begin on June 15 when boaters, yachters and private aviation will once again be invited to experience our destination. We will begin with these smaller special interest groups as they provide a more controlled segment to test our measure. They all will pre-register electronically, allowing health officials to determine their risk level.

“Also, during this phase, commercial airlines will be allowed to bring in Bahamian citizens, legal residents, homeowners or the immediate family members.

“All returning persons will be required to obtain a molecular swab PCR COVID-19 test with a negative result.”

D’Aguilar said yesterday everyone coming in prior to July 1, including visitors on sea vessels, will be required to take a COVID-19 test before coming. He previously told The Nassau Guardian that this requirement will fall away with the full opening of the borders on July 1.

Speaking to the issue on Thursday, Minnis said, “If you are talking about up to July 1, we have not thought that far yet.

“But, as far as we’re concerned, at this particular time, even when the minister of tourism spoke, those individuals that he spoke about require testing and all returning home require testing also.

“Up to July 1, we cannot speak to that particular time as this is very fluid.” 

 

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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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