The Bahamas continues to make hard choices when it comes to protecting the country from the Wuhan Coronavirus. A private plane with 14 passengers from China was recently denied entry to the Bahamas due to travel restrictions in place.
The Bahamas currently is prohibiting non-residents that have been to China within the last 20 days from entering the country. Residents that have been to China within the last 20 days are allowed entry but will be quarantined for 14 days.
So far the Health Minister, Dr. Duane Sands has confirmed that 9 people have been quarantined so far. Some of these quarantined residents are students that are studying in China.
The private plane that was denied entry carried both eligible and non-eligible passengers for entry. The plane was notified of this and chose to move on to another location. The plane originated in Dubai, before landing in the Dominican Republic after being denied entry in the Bahamas. It then flew to Haiti where everyone was kept on board due to the health risk. It has been reported that the plane is expected to move on to Portugal.
Dr. Sands said: “The position of the Bahamas is if you’ve been in mainland China the last 20 days, you’re not going to be allowed entry. With this plane, they could’ve landed here but not everyone could’ve gotten off the plane. Those that couldn’t land here would’ve landed, they would’ve been seen by immigration and then be denied entry.”
The Bahamas is not alone in its travel restrictions. Many countries have now restricted flights from mainland China and are keeping a close eye on those that have recently visited. Commercial airlines are also cutting back flights to the region. Dr. Sands noted that the Ministry of Tourism has been in contact with airlines and cruise ships about the policy.
“It is a huge logistic operation because you have to give people notice. It requires the involvement of foreign affairs, the Ministries of Tourism, Aviation, Immigration (and) Finance. It is a very, very extensive, organised, coordinated operation. The entire world is going through this right now. Subsequent to us declaring our positions, multiple countries have done the same thing, including Grenada, Jamaica and the United States,” Dr. Sands said.
So far the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has infected 14,557 worldwide and resulted in 304 deaths. A man in the Philippines recently became the first person to die from the virus outside of China. So far most of the infection cases have been from people visiting the region but there is a growing number of local infection cases. The World Health Organization recently declared the virus a global health emergency, citing local infection cases as the primary reason.