Minnis: No Covid-19 tests needed for Bahamians' short-term trips abroad
While he reiterated that visitors and residents travelling to The Bahamas when borders reopen on July 1 will be required to have a negative Covid-19 test, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said an exception to require a negative PCR Covid-19 test will be made for short-term travel periods of 72 hours or less for Bahamians and residents.
However, Minnis said these individuals may have to be quarantined for 14 days based on a determination by the Ministry of Health.
He made the announcement as he wrapped up debate on the budget in the House of Assembly this morning.
"Mr. Speaker, that is essential because there are certain groups of Bahamians who may have intentions of flying into the U.S. for one day or a 36-hour trip but the test takes 48 hours, which means they either would have to extend their period of time or subsequently cannot return," Minnis said. "But if they insist they must go, they can return but they will be quarantined because they have entered the realm of the hot spots," according to Minnis.
"And I wish to reiterate that PCR Covid-19 negative tests and completed health forms will be required for all visitors, Bahamians and residents entering or returning to The Bahamas," he said. "And these PCR Covid-19 tests are to be taken within a ten-day window before travel to The Bahamas."
The government initially announced that untested tourists would be allowed to visit the Bahamas after July 1. However, this decision was reversed following pushback from senior physicians and the Opposition.
Minnis encouraged Bahamians who want to spend some time away to travel to one of the family islands and spend their money there instead. He said they could catch fresh air on those islands where beaches are open.