Friday, June 19, 2020

Testing protocols not fully worked out

Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar

By Rachel Knowles

The government is still working out issues surrounding the decision to reopen the country’s borders to people who test negative for COVID-19, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday.

In particular, he said, it is still unclear how people traveling from The Bahamas to another country for short business or medical trips will be handled under the new policy.

“The government is working through that right now, trying to address those issues,” he said.

“Obviously, if I’m going to Florida for the day for medical reasons or I need to make a two-day trip…when I go over there, I can’t get the test in time to come back. So the government is trying to address those issues and in very short order, the health directorate will come out with guidelines on that.”

D’Aguilar said tourists seeking to enter the country will have to apply online and upload copies of their COVID-19 test results. He said some tests will be evaluated through the online system, and some will be checked at the border.

“We’re going to devise a system where persons apply online to enter the country,” he said.

“They will give us the information about where they’re coming from, where they’re going to in The Bahamas, so that if a hot spot develops, the Ministry of Health can easily conduct its contact tracing.

“When they apply online, they’ll have to upload a copy of their COVID-19 test. Either it will be reviewed prior to their arrival, or if it isn’t reviewed, when they present themselves to the border, it will be reviewed at that time to make sure that it is the correct test within the correct period. And then the persons will be admitted into the country.”  Read more >>