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15 new COVID-19 cases; Govt enforces new restrictions

Government has enforced new restrictions as the country recorded 15 new coronavirus cases today.

On Grand Bahama, which has seen a resurgence of cases, a curfew will be implemented from 7pm to 5am daily starting tomorrow. All private and public parks and beaches will be closed as of tomorrow. International and domestic borders will be closed effective midnight on Wednesday. All fish fry joints will be closed effective tomorrow. All congregant activities and gatherings, including religious services, weddings and funerals will be prohibited as of tomorrow. Grand Bahama has experienced

30 new cases over the past two weeks. If efforts to reduce cases do not succeed, other restrictive measures will be implemented, including a lockdown beginning on July 24, according to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.

On New Providence, as of Wednesday, international commercial flights and commercial vessels will not be allowed to enter Bahamian borders except from Canada and the United Kingdom.

Bahamasair will cease outgoing flights to the United States, effective immediately.

Outgoing commercial flights will be permitted to accommodate visitors still in the country.

All returning residents by air and sea from overseas will require a negative COVID-19 PCR molecular swab test from an accredited lab. Tests must be taken no longer than 10 days before travel. Persons must also have an approved health visa to enter the country.

Public and private beaches and parks on New Providence, Paradise Island, Athol Island and surrounding cays will be closed, effective tomorrow along with restaurants on Arawak Cay.

The situation here at home has deteriorated exponentially since The Bahamas began the opening of its domestic economy and international borders, according to Minnis who, today, announced 15 new COVID-19 cases. This brings the total number of cases to 153.

Minnis said there have been 49 new cases since borders opened on July 1. 31 of those new cases are on Grand Bahama.

If cases continue to increase the government is prepared to implement more restrictive measures, according to Minnis.

He noted that progress can be reversed due to the high number of cases in neighboring countries and if citizens stop following safety protocols.

“Our current situation demands decisive action,” said Minnis who said the country cannot afford for its hospitals to be overrun.

Domestic travel will continue to be permitted but Minnis said domestic travelers are required to complete an electronic travel visa form prior to departure. An airline carrying passengers without a visa will be fined $500 per passenger.

Travelers presenting falsified COVID-19 tests will be subject to a fine of up to $2,000 or two years in prison. If a person knows or believes they are infected and causes another to be infected, will be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 per exposed person.

Persons who leave mandatory quarantine without permission could be fined $250.

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