No more Covid-19 testing for tourists upon arrival
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
As of Sunday, tourists vacationing in the Bahamas will no longer be required to take a rapid antigen test upon their arrival to our shores. Additionally, they will not be required to quarantine for 14 days. However, visitors will be required to pay for COVID-19 health insurance in the event they test positive while on vacation.
The emergency orders will be revised to reflect changes in travel protocols, according to Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar who said forcing visitors to get tested upon their arrival would be a logistical nightmare and a turn-off.
The government initially announced that it would be replacing the mandatory 14-day quarantine with a series of tests, namely, a Rapid Antigen test on arrival and a Rapid Antigen test five days after arrival if the traveler was still in country at that time. However, Dionisio said this idea was scrapped at the last minute.
“The use of Rapid Antigen Tests as an effective screening tool at the border was not supported by the available research or, as some of like to say, was not supported by the science,” D’Aguilar said during a news conference on Saturday to announce new travel protocols.
“As a result, effective tomorrow, 1 November 2020, there will be no tests conducted on arrival,” he stressed.
Travelers will enter The Bahamas, as they have always done, with their Bahamas Health Travel Visa and their accompanying PCR test, conducted within five days prior to arrival.
They will have their temperature checked at the airport and any other screening deemed necessary by the Public Health Officials then proceed to their final destinations in The Bahamas.
“As there will no longer be any requirement to quarantine, there will be no requirement to enroll in the Hubbcatt Monitoring System nor go through the time consuming process of downloading that App,” according to D’Aguilar.
The Tourism Minister also announced that as of November 14 , all visitors to The Bahamas will be required to purchase COVID-19 health insurance before they come to The Bahamas.
”The inclusion of the travel health insurance is to ensure that any VISITOR who may test positive for the coronavirus while on vacation in The Bahamas, or become ill from the virus while in The Bahamas, will not suddenly become a burden on an already over burdened Bahamian,” he said.
Covid-19 insurance is not intended for Bahamians.
“I am pleased, therefore, to say that no visitor who tests positive will pose a strain on our own health care facilities. The influx of arriving passengers will not jeopardize the availability of health resources, hospital beds or COVID-19 testing capabilities for any Bahamians,” D’Aguilar added.
Atlantic Medical, now known as CG Atlantic, has been contracted to fulfill this new, mandatory requirement that each visitor coming to The Bahamas be in possession of specific COVID Travel Health Insurance.
In the case where a visitor tests positive, three comprehensive options are available to the visitor.
Firstly, those who test positive but exhibit no symptoms can quarantine in place for up to 14 days. The insurance will cover the hotel costs of that quarantine.
Secondly, if a person tests positive, exhibits no symptoms (asymptomatic) but has a pre-existing medical condition, then they will have the option to be medically evacuated out of the country.
And third, if a person tests positive and exhibits symptoms, they will be immediately medically evacuated to their home country for medical purposes.