Written by 3:45 am Travel

NEW COVID RULES ON THE WAY: Adjustments looming on large social gatherings and border entry

Darville says closed borders not on the table

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Adjustments could possibly be rolled out in the approaching days with respect to large social gatherings and tighter border control, in line with Minister of Health Dr Michael Darville.

He said while it stays a challenge to balance the economy and public health and safety, discussions have been geared toward adjusting current measures.

The emergency orders, which included a nightly curfew, fell away on November 13, paving the way in which for a new set of COVID-19 rules enacted into laws.

Minister of Health Dr Michael Darville.

While these largely mirror the present measures that were in place under the general public state of emergency, restrictions and the strict requirements of capped social gatherings fell away, though the Ministry of Health must approve larger social events, as seen with the Christmas carnival, which was denied to operate.

Darville indicated that amid the specter of the omicron variant, a more transmissible variant of COVID-19, the ministry has been in high-level discussions on adjusting measures to “cope with issues at our borders”.

Asked if the general public could expect further adjustments of protocols that restrict movement and in-person gatherings, the minister didn’t rule them out.

“Well, we’re many things,” he said.

“As you realize, rules are very fluid and they’re going to change based on how the Ministry of Health sees the potential spread within the country.

“But we’re going to be making some adjustments very shortly and when that happens, we will certainly have the ability to put the principles and have them gazetted so everyone will have the ability to see exactly what’s required, particularly at our borders.”

As he addressed several recent large social events, including a Christmas party that attracted a whole bunch, the minister noted it’s difficult to balance the economy and adjust protocols to make sure the protection of the citizenry.

Rules are very fluid and they’re going to change based on how the Ministry of Health sees the potential spread within the country.

– Minister of Health & Wellness Dr Michael Darville

But Darville made clear that there isn’t a intention presently to shut The Bahamas’ borders.

The Bahamas continues to watch double-digit cases on a every day basis, though that figure has increased from around 20 per day to 40-plus.

It stays to be seen if the trend might be sustained and if it is a sign of the onset of a fourth wave of the virus — a priority amongst health professionals and the federal government alike.

This week, as omicron became the dominant strain in america, the CDC moved The Bahamas to a Level 2 travel advisory list — a feat Darville attributed to the strategies, planning and work of diverse government ministries.

He said: “We’re concerned since the omicron virus is roaming wild [in] many countries where our tourists come from and after we have a look at the state of Florida, we see the cases are going up there. We’re concerned.”

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