The Bahamas government has scrapped the COVID-19 antigen testing for travelers to the country as of November 1.
The Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar made the announcement on Saturday at a Ministry of Tourism press conference conducted via Zoom.
“Effective tomorrow, Sunday 1 November, The Bahamas will be removing the mandatory 14-day quarantine as promised,” Mr D’Aguilar said.
“Foreign visitors will be welcomed to our country, to stay at our hotels, to go to our beaches, to enjoy some of our world famous excursions and activities and, most importantly, to abide by our health and safety protocols. As such, the emergency orders will be revised to reflect that change.”
Under the new travel protocols, all people entering the country will have to present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test no older than five days and have an approved Bahamas health travel visa to enter the country.
For the duration of the visit, those entering the country must complete a daily online health questionnaire for symptom tracking purposes. Travelers will also have to take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test on day five of the visit (unless departing on day five).
Travelers are advised to also always wear a mask and always social distance in public places.
He also noted that The Bahamas will be removing the mandatory 14-day quarantine. As of November 14, all visitors will also be required to purchase health insurance.
For residents and visitors staying up to four nights and five days, the fee is $40; for visitors staying more than four nights, the fee is $60; and for children aged 10 and under, there is no cost.
According to D’Aguilar, the cost of health insurance and the required rapid antigen test on the fifth day will be automatically included in the cost of the health visa.
He said this is to ensure that any visitor who may test positive while on vacation or become ill does not become a burden on the already overwhelmed health care system.
“This insurance is not intended for Bahamians as they will be returning home and we expect them to avail themselves of our local healthcare providers and our local medical facilities in the usual manner,” said the tourism minister.
“I am pleased to say that no visitor who tests positive will become a strain on our healthcare system.”
CG Atlantic, formerly Atlantic Medical, has been contracted to fulfill the health insurance requirement.
D’Aguilar explained that visitors who test positive while in the country will be allowed to quarantine for up to 14 days if asymptomatic; or, for those with pre-existing conditions or symptoms, get medically evacuated.