Iran, Italy and South Korea were added to the government’s travel ban amid the global spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.
Non-residents coming to The Bahamas who have been in any of those countries in the last 20 days will not be allowed entry into The Bahamas. Residents entering The Bahamas who have been in any of the countries in the last 20 days will face a two-week quarantine.
The announcement was made yesterday in a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which noted that in the past few days, the large majority of new cases of COVID-19 have been within those three countries.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to advise that recent reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that the
COVID-19 virus has now spread to more than 75 countries,” the statement said.
“At least 47 of these countries have 10 cases or less.
“Some are reporting their first cases.
“Significantly, however, there is a prevalence of cases emerging in a few selected countries. According to the director-general’s March 4, 2020 briefing, almost 90 percent of those cases are from three countries: Iran, South Korea and Italy.
“The data is compelling and out of an abundance of caution, the government of The Bahamas has decided to implement border control and quarantine measures for persons coming from those countries.
“Effective immediately, any non-resident who has visited South Korea, Iran or Italy in the last 20 days will be denied entry into The Bahamas.
“These countries will be added to China, for which, we implemented such measures on January 30th, 2020. As such, Bahamian citizens and residents returning from all four jurisdictions will now be subjected to quarantine measures for a maximum of 14 days.
“Non-residents currently en route to The Bahamas from these jurisdictions will be subjected to the same protocol for returning citizens and residents.”
Up to press time yesterday, there were over 95,000 cases of the illness worldwide with over 3,300 deaths, including 11 in the U.S.
The Ministry of Health has unveiled its preparation plan for dealing with the disease, while Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced on Sunday that the government “will take no chances” in attempting to prevent it from reaching the country’s shores.
Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands earlier this week tabled a quarantine order, which declared the Republic of China will be recognized as an “infected place” for six months due to the coronavirus outbreak there.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs release, there are still no reported or confirmed cases of the virus in The Bahamas.
“…At this time, the government of The Bahamas is taking extra precautions to protect the safety and health of our residents and visitors,” the statement said.
“This new advisory is part of the government’s enhanced effort to address this public health threat.”