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15 Feb 2020 | 10:37 AM UTC

Bahamas: New entry restrictions amid coronavirus outbreak February 14

Ministry of Public Health bans entry to travelers who have been to China in the 20 days before arrival as of February 14 amid ongoing coronavirus outbreak

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Event

Government officials announced on Friday, February 14, it implemented a travel ban restricting any non-residents who have visited mainland China within the last 20 days from entering the country. Officials added that Bahamian citizens who visited China within the last 20 days will be quarantined on arrival. The restriction was put in place to prevent the spread of the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak into the country. It is unclear how long the ban will remain in effect for.

As of Saturday, February 15, no COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the Bahamas.

Further international spread of the COVID-19 virus is to be expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

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 (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in 29 countries and territories worldwide. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a "public health emergency of international concern."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

  • Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
  • Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
  • Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask
  • Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments
  • Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease.