Arriving passengers from multiple flights from Grand Bahama and Fort Lauderdale yesterday evening have been taken to a government quarantine facility, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Delon Brennen confirmed last night.
The government has released no statement or order giving effect to such a move.
Around 10 p.m., Brennen said he could not confirm how many people are being placed into government quarantine as they were still being processed.
Asked for specifics about why they were transferred to quarantine, he said this was a mandate from Cabinet and he could not speak to that.
Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle also said he did not have details on the number of flights or passengers involved, but confirmed that he was asked by the Cabinet Office to assist in escorting passengers arriving at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) into quarantine.
Rolle declined to say which facility is being used for government quarantine, but the government has in the past used Breezes Resort.
Around 7 p.m., The Nassau Guardian observed one police bus leaving the airport. An airport employee claimed that police met at least one flight on the tarmac and escorted passengers onto a bus for transfer to the quarantine facility.
One passenger sent The Guardian a message last night saying: “Still waiting here. They didn’t tell us where they are taking us or anything. Zero information from the airline regarding this.”
The development comes as COVID-19 cases continue to soar in the country, with Grand Bahama emerging as a hotspot.
Just before midnight last night, health officials reported an additional 20 cases, ten on Grand Bahama, six on New Providence, two on Bimini and two Cat Island cases. In total, 90 cases have been confirmed since July 8. Sixty-one of those cases were on Grand Bahama.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced yesterday that effective 6 p.m. yesterday, all domestic flights in and out of Grand Bahama were to cease. While the rest of the country is still open to domestic travel, as of midnight tonight, international commercial flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers will not be 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 will still be permitted, as well as pleasure craft and yachts.
All returning Bahamian residents and visitors by air or sea from overseas are required to have a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result from an accredited lab.
While Grand Bahama has emerged as a hotspot, the prime minister has not previously indicated that anyone traveling out of Grand Bahama into New Providence will face quarantine.
Florida is also a hotspot, having reported more than 9,000 new cases yesterday. Given that commercial flights are not banned until today, it was again unclear why the decision was made to place travelers into quarantine last night.
Minister of Health Renward Wells did not answer repeated calls placed to him last night.