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COVID Test No Longer Needed For Inter-Island Travel

As of today, a negative COVID-19 test will no longer be needed for inter-island travel from New Providence or Grand Bahama, Office of the Prime Minister Press Secretary Clint Watson announced yesterday.

He said the new policy applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

When asked if the relaxation in travel requirements is the result of low COVID-19 cases in The Bahamas, Watson replied, “Correct. They are following the science and the data, particularly from Grand Bahama, and feel as if, at this time, it’s okay to relax those restrictions. That’s why this move is being made.”

Negative COVID-19 tests are still required for individuals traveling to The Bahamas. The tests can be no older than three days old.

Vaccinated travelers require a negative rapid antigen test and unvaccinated travelers require a negative RT-PCR test.

COVID-19 cases have steadily declined over recent weeks.

The decline followed the high transmission of the virus, which was largely attributed to the unconfirmed presence of the Omicron variant, from late December through mid-January.

During that period, which marked the short-lived fourth wave, hundreds of new cases were reported daily, resulting in a record-breaking number of cases.

Minister of Health Dr. Michael Darville has expressed concern with the emergence of a new Omicron subvariant, which is now the dominant COVID-19 strain in the United States.

Last week, he told reporters that the Ministry of Health and Wellness was closely monitoring the subvariant.

The press secretary reiterated yesterday that the government will monitor what happens internationally, especially the United States because of its proximity to The Bahamas.

“We’re following the science,” Watson said.

“Our medical doctors have said that they are watching to see whether there is anything … and, so far, we haven’t seen anything. So they’re watching. It’s good to know that we have protocols that are in place that have helped us get through what we’ve gone through so far. So our protocols are strong. They remain in place.”

Watson said the government is willing to reimpose restrictions that have been relaxed if needed.

By: Jasper Ward- Nassau Guardian