The Bahamas will ban travelers from the United States after its reopening less than three weeks ago caused a surge in coronavirus infections.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said that the country had seen 49 new coronavirus infections since it opened on July 1.
31 of those infected have been registered on the island of Grand Bahama, breaking their record from being COVID-19 free for a little over two months.
“Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy,” the Prime Minister said.
“It has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders.”
The country’s national carrier, Bahamasair, is to cease all outgoing flights to the United States immediately, while outgoing commercial flights will still be permitted to accommodate visitors scheduled to leave the Bahamas.
Travelers from the United Kingdom, Europe and Canada are still allowed to travel to the Bahamas, and will need to present proof of negative results from a molecular COVID test done by an accredited laboratory taken within 10 days of their arrival.
Private international flights, charters and pleasure crafts will also be allowed to enter the country.
“Our current situation demands decisive action, if we are to avoid being overrun and defeated by this virus,” Minnis added.
“We cannot allow our hospitals to be overrun. Many priorities must be balanced, be they health, social and economic.”
Minnis also put new restrictive measures in place, and warned that if the country does not see a change in its own spiking infections, more would be implemented.
“All congregant activities and gatherings, inclusive of religious services, weddings and funerals and sporting activities will not be allowed, effective Monday,” he announced.
“If efforts to decrease the number of cases are unsuccessful, other restrictive measures may be recommended, including a lockdown beginning Friday the 24th of July.”