Written by 10:16 pm Travel

NEW RULES: PM urges caution as omicron variant likely in country

Davis in quarantine after wife tests positive for COVID-19

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As new coronavirus infections reached 140 on Wednesday, Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis and health officials said the more transmissible omicron variant is believed to be in-country, though gene sequencing on samples sent abroad has not confirmed this.

With each day cases greater than tripling in recent days and global trends of the omicron variant becoming the dominant strain, the federal government introduced new COVID-19 rules that can see stricter measures on the borders and on social gatherings.

In response to the most recent rules, an indoor gathering have to be limited to not more than 20 people, while outdoor gatherings can have as much as 30.

To enter The Bahamas, a visitor must present a travel health visa.

The 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.

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.

A cruise ship must provide a manifest, which confirms all passengers on board over the age of 12 have been vaccinated prior to arriving in The Bahamas, to achieve permission to port.

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.

Islands within the second schedule include Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Inagua and New Windfall.

For those on private aircraft or vessel, a negative COVID-19 test is required.

Traveling amongst islands outside of the second schedule doesn’t require COVID-19 testing.

Travelers from those islands to at least one that’s listed on the second schedule shall not be required to undergo a COVID-19 test to return to the originating island.

Travelers who seek to renter the country inside 24-hours of departing shall not be required to undergo a new test to re-enter The Bahamas.

Restaurants on islands within the second schedule must ensure patrons are fully vaccinated to eat indoors and capability shall be limited to 50 percent of seating capability.

This doesn’t apply to islands outside of the second schedule.

Worst phase

During a press conference on the Office of the Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said The Bahamas could possibly be headed for the worst phase of the pandemic.

As he encouraged families to be cut back their gathering throughout the holidays, especially to guard vulnerable members, Davis confirmed that his wife Anne-Marie, and a number of other other relatives contracted COVID-19 following a family gathering last weekend that included several relatives from abroad.

He said although everyone was vaccinated and tested negatively before traveling, on the fifth day they tested positively.

Davis was quarantined in consequence out of caution but said after multiple tests he remained negative.

“…We’re taking a look at a number of extremely difficult weeks ahead due to omicron strain of the COVID-19 virus,” said Davis, who noted that cases of the virus have continued to extend in the previous couple of days.

Omicron continues to spread swiftly world wide.

It has develop into the dominant strain in The USA.

He indicated The Bahamas must avoid an explosion of cases.

The Bahamas is awaiting the outcomes of gene sequencing of 200 samples sent to Panama to find out if the omicron variants has arrived.

But Davis said his administration is acting as if the variant is already in-country, mentioning that there have been 26 cases on Monday, 73 on Tuesday and 140 on Wednesday.

Data shows that while omicron stays more transmissible, it doesn’t appear more deadly or severe.

“The variety of cases here is prone to go quickly and substantially,” Davis said.

“I’m going to inform it to you straight because omicron is so contagious, we could possibly be entering the worst phase of the pandemic. We must do whatever we are able to to cut back the whole variety of infections. We wish as a number of as those infections to cause serious illness as possible

The prime minister said rapid antigen tests remain a “critical tool”, however the PCR test is more sensitive and may pick infection from the virus earlier in its course.

In response to Davis, the federal government is searching for to offer free COVID-19 testing as soon as possible and requests for proposals will likely be sought to partner with a vendor “who can meet the standards that are essential…”.

He also said the federal government’s vaccination program, including offering a booster shot for added protection, must proceed.

He also advised the federal government is attempting to source new COVID-19 medication that may reduce the severity of the disease.

But Davis couldn’t provide a timeline.

As a part of the federal government’s preparation for a possible increase in hospitalizations, Davis said the South Beach Clinic is being prepared to accommodate additional services.


Davis acknowledged that after a difficult few years, the nation was prepared to loosen up and rejoice, but he said unfortunately the virus has modified.

“All of us need to regulate our own enthusiastic about what risks are acceptable and we’d like to do quickly,” Davis said.

In response to the amended rules gazette yesterday, to host or promote an event, equivalent to a concert, regatta, carnival, or Junkanoo parade, an application have to be submitted to the Advisory Committee for approval a minimum of two weeks prior to the anticipated date of the event.

The appliance must include the dimensions of the venue, variety of expected attendees, proposed measures to mitigate the virus, a declaration of intention to comply with the protocols, amongst other measures.

The advisory committee reserves the best to rescind approval for an event, in accordance with the most recent rules.

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