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Bahamas Says Goodbye To Quarantines With Last Minute Testing Updates

Nov 4, 2020

Last updated: November 4, 2020. This article will be updated as new information is provided. For more COVID-19 country re-opening and border updates, subscribe to our newsletter here or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

In a last minute move, The Bahamas’ government has amended its entry procedures in an effort to encourage more tourists the visit the island. The island chain previously implemented a 14 day quarantine dubbed the “Vacation-in-place”, but has since updated their testing protocols to do away with this. This means that incoming travelers will have more flexibility to do what they want once the below guidelines are adhered to.

Who can visit?

There are no restrictions as to who can visit the Bahamas once they meet the standard entry requirements listed here along with the undermentioned health policies.

What testing is required?

Effective November 1, 2020, travelers coming into The Bahamas will be required to take a COVID-19 RT PCR test 5 days prior to entry. Previously, the island allowed travelers up to 7 days to get the PCR test. Due to the last minute policy change, the Bahamian government is making an exemption for those with older tests, and will continue accepting tests that are up to 7 days old until November 6, 2020.

Children 10-years-old and under, as well as pilots and cabin crew members who stay overnight are not required to take the test.

Guest on the island will be required to take a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test on day 5 of the visit (unless departing on day 5). Results take about 60 minutes to be generated, and will be sent via SMS or e-mail.

Other rules and requirements?

Once travelers receive their negative resukt, they will have to apply for a Bahamas Health Visa which will require them to upload proof of their negative result as part of process to complete the form. Applicants should take note of the status of their visa before traveling to the island chain. The visas take up to 72 hours to process, so guests should apply in a timely manner to avoid difficulty later down the road.

In addition, beginning November 14, 2020, all visitors will be required to opt-in to mandatory COVID-19 health insurance when applying for their Health Travel Visa. The insurance will cover travelers for the duration of their stay. The health visa (which covers antigen testing and insurance) will cost $40 for both citizens and residents, as well foreigners staying up to 5 days and 4 nights. Guests staying beyond 5 days will be required to pay $60, while children 10 and under can apply for free.

The health insurance fee provides the following benefits:

  • Medical expenses incurred on-island due to COVID-19, up to $50,000 (USD)
  • Trip interruption/delay for necessary quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19, up to $500 (USD) per day/$7,000 (USD) max
  • Medical evacuation and/or repatriation of remains due to COVID-19, and subject to medical necessity, up to $50,000 (USD)

While in the Bahamas, guests will be required to:

  • Fill out a daily online health questionnaire for the duration of the trip.
  • Take a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test on day 5 of the visit (unless departing on day 5). Results take about 60 minutes to be generated, and will be sent via SMS or e-mail.
  • Always wear a mask and always social distance in public places.

Those who test positive after taking the rapid antigen test will be required to take a PCR test, and if that comes back positive, they will be required to enter medical care handled by one of the government’s medical providers.

Will there be a quarantine period?

Previously, due to a spike in infections, the Bahamian government implemented a 14 day quarantine, but this is no longer the case.

Once guests and locals arrive, they are free to visit any part of the island (once permitted under other local guidelines) from the time they arrive. Entry quarantines were removed to help foster a more “seamless” experience for tourists visiting the island chain.

Coronavirus in The Bahamas

While infections hit a daily peak of 242 cases on October 10, 2020, the numbers have started trending downwards, with averages of less than 50 cases per day.

As at November 3, 2020, the island chain has seen 6,790 total infections, with 4,632 of those recovering and 149 deaths.

[Featured Photo: skeeze/Pixabay]

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