The Bahamas' Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced on Sunday that American tourists will be barred from entering the country due to coronavirus concerns. Effective immediately, the country's national airline, Bahamasair, will end all flights to the United States. The news comes just three weeks after the Bahamas opened its borders to travelers again.
Outgoing commercial flights will be permitted by Wednesday, but travelers will not be allowed to enter the borders with a few exceptions. Minnis clarified that flights from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union will still be permitted. In order to be let in, however, visitors will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test from an accredited lab.
Minnis explained that the situation in the country has worsened "at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders." He went on to criticize others on how other countries handled the pandemic, although he did not specify which countries. "In neighboring countries, hospitals are overwhelmed and deaths are increasing. For some places it is unclear when or how they will get this virus under control," said Minnis. If visitors from other countries ignore health guidelines, he said that they could undo all the progress the Bahamas has made in combating the spread of the virus.
While numbers in the country have remained relatively low, with around 138 confirmed cases overall, there has been a small rise in new cases since the country reopened its borders on July 1. The state of Florida, which reported 12,478 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, represents one of the largest tourism markets for the country.