Travel ban meant to buy country some time, PM says

While the government’s travel ban on eight African countries where a new COVID-19 variant emerged is not perfect, it will hopefully buy the country more time, Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said yesterday. 

“This is not perfect protection; the variant has been identified in several other countries as well,” Davis said.

“The idea is to buy some time until we have more clarity. We just don’t have enough clinical data to know with confidence yet how transmissible the new variant is or whether it induces more severe disease. We have to stay alert, stay flexible, and continue to combat the Delta strain, which is still circulating and remains a threat.”

As he led off debate on the supplementary budget, Davis said Bahamians must stay alert and protect themselves and their family from COVID.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Health announced that nonresident travelers who have been in South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, or Zimbabwe in the past 14 days will not be allowed entry into The Bahamas.

Individuals who are ordinarily resident in The Bahamas and have traveled to either of the countries in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter The Bahamas but will be subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days at their own expense and will undergo screening as mandated by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

Davis said the world owes the scientists and public health officials in Africa a debt of gratitude for moving so quickly to share their data.

“Because of their transparency, and their early warning, governments can act now, even with incomplete information,” he said. 

The restrictions apply to all individuals regardless of whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or not.

The World Health Organization (WHO) labeled the Omicron variant a variant of concern on Friday.

The variant has more mutations than any other variant discovered, to date, raising concern across the globe about the possibility that it could be more dangerous than other strains.

The WHO, however, noted that it is not clear yet whether the variant is more transmissible or more severe than others.

Cases of the new variant have been detected in the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Israel, the Netherlands, Australia and Hong Kong.

Davis noted that while COVID cases and hospitalizations have declined in The Bahamas, now is not the time to become complacent.

“…Our US travel advisory has improved from a level 4 to a level 3, and economic projections indicate our economy is on the way up,” he said. 

“Yet with reports of a new, possibly more transmissible COVID variant, we are far from complacent. Everyone is tired of COVID, but unfortunately, both governments and families need to remain vigilant and engaged in this battle against the virus.

“There is no single perfect protection against COVID, so we should all take multiple steps to protect ourselves, and remember that when we are careful, we are also protecting our friends, our families, our co-workers, and our communities.”

He encouraged residents to hold gatherings outside, to wear two masks and to get vaccinated.

“I am very pleased to announce that for the first time during this pandemic, our country now has enough vaccines for all Bahamians who choose to take advantage of this life-saving inoculation,” he said.

Show More

Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018.

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please support our local news by turning off your adblocker