Bahamas has no plans for mandatory testing of travellers from China

Bahamas has no plans for mandatory testing of travellers from China
Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

The Bahamas government says it has no plans to impose coronavirus (COVID-19) testing requirements for travellers coming from China, which has in recent months recorded a surge.

The Bahamas has recorded 833 deaths and 37, 491 infection cases since the first case was reported here more than two years ago and Health and Wellness Minister Dr Michael Darville said the situation regarding Chinese travellers could change as the officials in this tourist archipelago continue to closely monitor the situation.

There are reports of a new variant of the virus, called XBB, but Darville said that “as far as we know, we have not gotten any report that the new variant is here.

“I suspect like when the Omicron variant arrived in The Bahamas, the confirmation took a few weeks and few months to determine. But, for us at the Ministry of Health and Wellness, our job is to be ready for any situation. We are operating as if it is in country, even though we may not have a verification at this time,” he added.

The United States, the United Kingdom and several other European countries have already announced stricter measures for travellers coming in from China and the Health and wellness Minister told reporters “we are watching what’s going on internationally.

“We’re looking at our borders. We’re looking at the United States. We’re looking at what’s happening in China, and our EOC (Emergency Operation Centre) and our technical team are very much in tune with the cases.

“One of the things is over the holiday weekend, we had  record amount of tourists visiting the country. This is good for our economy and at the Ministry of Health, it is our responsibility to mitigate the risk as it relates to COVID-19 and the economy.”

“I believe that we have done a relatively good job at this particular point and with all of our technical team, we will continue to do what we do at the ministry and to assure the Bahamian people that our job is to notify them anytime there is an incident that we believe it is worth reporting but as it stands right now, we are mindful. We are on alert.”

The Health and wellness Minister reminded the country that the COVID-19 virus is not going away early and while there are concerns of increased cases, the authorities here also cognizant of the fact that the local economy rebounding.

He said on Monday, there were 18 new positive cases in hospital, adding “we made it very clear in our rules, our COVID rules that we must protect our tertiary institutions, particularly our clinics, and the Princess Margaret Hospital and the Rand Memorial Hospital.

“You might have noticed that as a result of the case in the ICU, the public hospital authority had to tighten our grips to limit the amount of visitors and the time spent with visitors at the ICU in the hospitals,” Darville said, adding “this is all part of our strategy to try to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.

“One of the things I’d like to say is that COVID-19 never really went away. At the hospitals, we have been dealing with situations associated with COVID and I’m pleased to report that we are able to handle the situation as it is today.”

  • PublishedFebruary 18, 2023

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