- Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis made the announcement in his national address
- He said that he will be shutting down all airports and seaports from Wednesday
- The move comes after the country reported 15 new coronavirus cases on Sunday
The Bahamas is shutting down its borders to visitors from the United States after witnessing a spike in Covid-19 cases.
In a national address, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced that he would be closing all airports and seaports to tourists after the number of new coronavirus cases in the country increased by 15 on Sunday.
Dr Minnis said that new restrictions would stop all outgoing flights to the U.S. as of Wednesday but visitors from the United Kingdom, Canada or the European Union would still be permitted into the country.
The move comes less than three weeks after the Caribbean country reopened its borders to international visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic on July 1.
In his speech Dr Minnis said: 'So today, I am announcing a number of measures we are reinstating to address the number of new cases we are seeing here at home. My government has consulted heavily with health officials.
'We are taking these strong actions to save lives. I understand the frustration and the disappointment of many Bahamians and residents that may ensue as we reimplement certain restrictions, but as a country, we have to do what is right and what is necessary.
'If we do not take these measures now we will pay a higher price and deadlier price at a later date. At the onset, of the Covid-19 pandemic, we acted early to prevent widespread sickness and death. We must do so once again.'
He added: 'Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy. It has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders.'
Under the new restrictions, commercial flights carrying passengers from the U.S will not be permitted to enter the Bahamas from Wednesday midnight.
Visitors from Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union will still be permitted to visit as long as they can show proof of a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test result from an accredited lab.
The test must be taken no later than ten days before the date of travel.
Returning Bahamians will also be required to show the negative test upon arrival into the country and those who cannot will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Meanwhile those seeking to travel domestically will be required to complete an electronic Health Visa before they depart.
On Sunday, the island nation recorded 15 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 153.