The government does not plan to send emergency flights to pick up Bahamians stranded abroad, Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield said today.
On Friday, the government decided to shut down borders for all incoming people, including Bahamian residents and citizens, due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the United States.
“It’s not whether the government can send emergency flights; you know, all airports are closed all over the world,” Henfield told The Nassau Guardian.
“[The] Civil Aviation [Authority] issued an order to say that no inbound passengers can come into The Bahamas.
“Outside from that, what can you do anyway if you could send a flight? What can you do? All airports are closed.”
Pressed on whether that meant the government would not send flights to pick up Bahamians stuck abroad, Henfield replied, “All the airports are closed.”
On Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said empty planes can come into The Bahamas to pick up passengers and leave.
“It is realized that this is likely to result in the dislocation of Bahamian nationals and residents who are abroad and seeking to return home,” it said in a statement.
“We urge you to make direct contact with the nearest Bahamian embassy, high commission or honorary consulate.”
There are 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas – nine on New Providence and two on Grand Bahama.
The United States now has over 125,000 cases of COVID-19 — more than China, where the novel coronavirus that causes the disease emerged late last year.