The Bahamas is officially closing its borders to American tourists amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced in a national address that due to the continued increase of COVID-19 cases in the United States and an uptick of cases in The Bahamas, officials have decided to bar international commercial flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers from the U.S. effective Wednesday, July 22 at midnight.

"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," Minnis explained. "Our current situation demands decisive action if we are to avoid being overrun and defeated by this virus.

We cannot allow our hospitals to be overrun. Many priorities must be balanced, be they health, social, and economic. Chief amongst these though is the health. We cannot risk the death of Bahamians and our residents. We must be resolved in our collective willingness to save lives."

The country also ceased all outgoing Bahamasair airline flights to the U.S., effective immediately. They will resume flights to accommodate any current visitors scheduled to return to the United States after Wednesday, July 22.

It will still allow visitors from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. Visitors from permitted countries, citizens, and residents will now be required to have a negative COVID-19 test result to enter the country without being subject to a mandated 14-day quarantine.

"All returning Bahamians, residents, and visitors by air or sea from overseas will require a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result from an accredited lab," Minnis added. "You will be required to present your documents to immigration officials upon arrival. These tests must be taken no later than 10 days before the date of travel."

Any returning Bahamians and residents who have not tested negative for the virus prior to returning will have to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return, which will be monitored via the Hubbcat Monitoring App.

Travelers who do not agree to Hubcatt monitoring will be quarantined at "a Government-identified facility at their own expense," Minnis said.

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