WASHINGTON — American tourists will not be allowed to enter the Bahamas amid the resurging coronavirus cases in the U.S., Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a national address Sunday.
"Our current situation demands decisive action, if we are to avoid being overrun and defeated by this virus," Minnis said. He added that there were 49 new COVID-19 confirmed cases since the Bahamas fully opened its borders on July 1. The total number of cases had risen to 153.
To help stop the spread, the country's national airline Bahamasair will cease flights to the United States, effective immediately.
Starting on Wednesday, July 22, international flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers will not be permitted to enter the borders. However, outgoing commercial flights will be permitted.
The only exception Minnis said is commercial flights from Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union will be allowed to enter its borders.
Private yachts and flights will still be allowed to enter the country. He also announced the closure of public and private beaches and parks and a nightly curfew.
"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.
Infections have been soaring in U.S. states including California, Florida, Texas and Arizona, with many blaming a haphazard, partisan approach to lifting lockdowns as well as the resistance of some Americans to wearing masks.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The United States has more than 3.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University.
Just after 9:30 a.m. EDT Monday, the U.S. had more than 140,000 deaths from the virus. Worldwide, there are more than 14 million confirmed cases with more than 606,000 deaths.