Written by 9:28 am Travel

HIT THE BRAKES: Ministry of Tourism suspends mandatory RT-PCR testing for entry of fully vaxxed travelers

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas has suspended the planned mandatory RT-PCR testing requirement for vaccinated travelers, based on the Ministry of Tourism.

The policy turnaround follows a warning last week from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that advised Bahamians to expect delays in obtaining COVID test results and flight cancelations in the course of the holiday period as a consequence of rising cases.

In a press release last night, the ministry advised that the protocol which was expected to take effect on Friday, January 7, will now not be implemented.

“Vaccinated individuals, in addition to children ages 2-11, may proceed to present either a negative rapid antigen test or negative RT-PCR test,” the statement advised.

“As well as, effective 4 January 2022, all individuals remaining in The Bahamas for longer than 48 hours might be required to undergo a rapid antigen test, no matter vaccination status.”

In response to the updated protocols, all those traveling to The Bahamas from other countries, whether fully vaccinated or unvaccinated, might be required to acquire a negative COVID-19 test taken not more than three days (72 hours) prior to the date of arrival within the country.

Meanwhile, all unvaccinated travelers, aged 12 and older, must present a negative RT-PCR Test (acceptable tests include NAAT, PCR, RNA, RT-PCR and TMA).

Children under the age of two are exempt from any testing requirements.

The updated protocol also replaces the present Day-five rapid antigen testing requirement, now requiring visitors staying in The Bahamas for longer than 48-hours to take a compulsory antigen test.

Nevertheless, visitors departing on or before 48 hours won’t be required to acquire this test.

Before the Christmas holiday, the prime minister announced that the federal government introduced new COVID-19 rules that can see stricter measures on the borders and on social gatherings.

To be able to enter the country, a traveler must either be fully vaccinated and present a negative COVID-19 test or health clearance letter, and if not fully vaccinated, a negative RT-PCR test or health clearance letter, together with a travel health visa. 

It was expected that effective January 7, a citizen or legal resident aged two or older must submit a negative RT-PCR test and evidence of vaccination, if fully vaccinated, to enter The Bahamas

For inter-island travel to an island on the second schedule, a traveler must present negative results of a rapid antigen test or RT-PCR test if fully vaccinated, and an RT-PCR test if unvaccinated.

Health officials recorded 315 cases on Monday, taking the variety of cases within the country to 26,326, with 3,507 still energetic. 

The federal government officially launched its free testing program on New Windfall at several vaccine centers throughout the capital yesterday.

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