The announcement follows the country reporting 49 new cases since reopening its borders on July 1. According to USA Today, it now has a total of 153 cases. Without specifying which countries, Minnis blamed the mishandling of COVID-19 in nearby countries for the current conditions of the pandemic, adding that the situation in the Bahamas worsened “at an exponential rate” since international borders were reopened.
“In neighboring countries, hospitals are overwhelmed and deaths are increasing. For some places it is unclear when or how they will get this virus under control,” Minnis said in the address. He added that without taking “decisive action” the country can be “defeated by this virus” in addition to losing its progress in stopping the spread “because of how citizens and residents within countries are following or ignoring health guidelines.”
Across the U.S., hospitals are reaching capacity, including in the state of Florida located about 50 miles from the islands, which represents a large tourism market for the Bahamas, The Hill reported. Florida and Texas have continuously remained among the states with the highest number of COVID-19 cases, proving to be hot spots in the past several weeks. “As a country we have to do what is right and necessary. If we do not take these measures now, we will pay a higher and deadlier price later,” Minnis said. “At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic we acted early to prevent widespread sickness and death. We must do so once again.”
Beginning on Wednesday, “international commercial flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers will not be permitted to enter our borders, except for commercial flights from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union,” Minnis said. Those permitted to enter the country by air or sea will be required to provide lab results confirming they have tested negative for COVID-19.
As of this report, more than 14.4 million people worldwide have tested positive for coronavirus while 605,000 people have died as a result, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University. While some countries across the globe have declared themselves virus-free or reported an overall decrease in cases, infections in the U.S. continue to rise as the Trump administration and those who support it dismiss the pandemic as little more than a common cold. “They have the sniffles and we put it down as a test,” Donald Trump said in an interview on Fox News Sunday.