The country’s airline, Bahamasair, halted all flights to the United States, effective immediately, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in an address to the nation. Other outgoing commercial flights are being allowed to facilitate the departure of tourists.
All international flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers will no longer be permitted to enter the country’s borders, save for flights from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
All returning Bahamians and approved visitors must test negative for COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
People will be required to present documents attesting to the negative result, which must have been obtained no later than 10 days before the date of travel.
Anyone without such documentation must self-quarantine for 14 days via an application called Hubcatt. People who refuse to the monitoring, or who aren’t approved by the Bahamas Ministry of Health, must quarantine at a government-identified facility at their own expense. They must test negatively at the facility, also at their own expense.
People who submit falsified COVID-19 tests face a fine of up to $2,000 and up to two years in prison, officials warned.
A U.S. State Department spokesperson referred The Epoch Times to the government of the Bahamas.
Minnis said the series of “strong actions” is due to the Americas having the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, claiming that neighboring countries are experiencing overwhelmed hospitals and increases in deaths from the disease.
“For some places, it is unclear when or how they will get this virus under control. While there are countries that continue to make progress, such progress can be reversed because of what is happening in neighboring and other countries. Progress can also be reversed because of how citizens and residents within countries are following or ignoring health guidelines,” he said.
Expressing regret, Minnis added that the situation in the Bahamas “has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders.”
Health officials confirmed 15 new cases of COVID-19, making 49 total new cases since the borders fully opened on July 1.
Travel within the country is still permitted but many beaches and parks are being shut down and a curfew is being imposed in Grand Bahama. All gatherings, including weddings and religious services, are forbidden as of July 20.
The Royal Bahamas Police Force is responsible for enforcing the strict measures.
Situated just 50 miles from the coast of Florida, the Bahamas is a group of islands that welcomed 7 million visitors in 2019. A large portion of the tourists are Americans.
The CCP virus is believed to spread mainly between people in close contact with one another through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Prevention techniques include avoiding crowds, washing hands often, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily.
COVID-19 primarily affects the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, killing a small percentage of patients.