Written by 5:49 am Travel

SMOOTH FLYING: Govt expects seamless transition out of travel health visa starting today

DPM says airlines will confirm required COVID test results 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The federal government expects a seamless transition because it removes the requirement for travel health visas for Bahamians and residents returning to the country.

The new initiative, which was a serious campaign promise of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), goes into effect today.

The visa, nonetheless, will remain in place for visitors “for the foreseeable future” and testing requirements should be adhered to before entering the country.

We’re delighted we’ve been capable of deliver on our promise to the Bahamian people whilst keeping balanced entry requirements.

– Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper

Chester Cooper. (BIS/KEMUEL STUBBS)

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper told Eyewitness News yesterday: “We’re eliminating the health visa however the testing requirement will proceed.

“The airlines will check the tests as is now done for Family Island travel.

“We’re delighted we’ve been capable of deliver on our promise to the Bahamian people whilst keeping balanced entry requirements.”

The PLP opposition had repeatedly asserted that the travel visa was an unnecessary tax imposed by the Free National Movement (FNM) government.

Upon coming to office, the Davis administration removed the travel health visa requirement for domestic travel in The Bahamas, and as of October 1, Bahamians and residents of The Bahamas, whether vaccinated against COVID-19 or not, now not needed to pay travel health visa fees to travel internationally.

The fees were left in place for visitors.

The visa has been adjusted several times since its rollout, based on local and global changes with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The newest change comes as health experts all over the world closely monitor the COVID-19 omicron variant, which was only recently discovered.

While omicron was initially identified in South Africa, the variant has now been reported in 57 nations, in line with the World Health Organization (WHO), though it remains to be “too early” to attract any conclusions about its global impact.

Meanwhile, in The Bahamas, health officials confirmed 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, taking the variety of confirmed cases to 22,907, with 357 lively.

The variety of COVID-related deaths now stands at 708, with one other 36 under investigation.

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