A public state of emergency has been extended through September 30 in The Bahamas under the Emergency Orders as part of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) measures. Inter-island travel is prohibited as of 19:00 (local time) on Wednesday, 28 July. From Monday, July 27, a national daily curfew from 19:00 to 05:00 applies. Only emergency travel to and from Grand Bahama is permitted as a local lockdown has been implemented by the Bahamian government until 05:00 on August 7.
As of July 25, international commercial passenger flights may enter the Bahamas, except for Grand Bahama, but all travelers regardless of their country of origin are required to undergo a 14 day quarantine at a government facility upon arrival at their own expense. Furthermore, each traveler over the age of ten must have a COVID-19 RT PCR (molecular swab) test with a negative result, taken within ten days from the date of arrival.
Face masks are to be worn in any public space and must be worn for entry into supermarkets, pharmacies and businesses.
A government issued identification must be carried on person to present at police checkpoints, which have been established on several islands.
As of Wednesday, July 29, 447 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Bahamas, with 11 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.