Officials in the Bahamas say that starting Wednesday, it will ban travelers from the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Officials say the large increase in COVID-19 cases throughout the United States and other countries is the reason for the ban; however, some international travel will be permitted, although it will be confined to Canada, Britain, and the European Union. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The ban marks a sudden shift from the Bahamas’ decision three weeks ago to reopen to virtually all international tourism.
Those still permitted to travel to the Bahamas under the new requirements must test negative for COVID-19 from an accredited lab 10 or fewer days before traveling, or otherwise quarantine themselves for 14 days.
“Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said Sunday. “It has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders.”
The prime minister also said, “Our current situation demands decisive action if we are to avoid being overrun and defeated by this virus.” He said these strong actions were being taken to “save lives.”
Bahamas’ airline, Bahamasair, is halting all flights to and from the United States.
The new travel bans are an attempt to halt the increase of the virus in the Bahamas. According to the Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 dashboard, the Bahamas has 153 confirmed cases with 11 deaths.
“We cannot risk the death of Bahamians and residents. We must be resolved in our collective willingness to save lives,” said Minnis.