By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
TRAVEL restrictions from China, Europe, South Korea and Iran will be lifted on July 1 when international commercial flights to The Bahamas resumes, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced yesterday.
Residents and visitors coming to this country will be required to produce a COVID-19 negative PCR test, unless they come from English-speaking CARICOM countries.
The travel ban involving China was implemented on January 30, the ban involving South Korea, Iran and Italy was implemented on March 4 and the ban against travel from Europe was implemented on March 14. Chinese embassy officials criticised the China travel ban when it was implemented in January, saying strong measures were being taken to contain the virus in that country —where the COVID-19 outbreak began — while noting that the World Health Organisation discouraged travel bans at the time.
Yesterday, Haigang Yin, a top Chinese embassy official, welcomed the impending end of the travel ban. “The epidemic has totally ended in China,” he said. “I believe it’s safe to allow Chinese tourists or visitors to come to this country. We will follow the measures requested by the government. We believe caution should remain in place for the foreseeable future. I think your government is following the situation in the neighbouring regions very closely. From our point of view, we think cautious measures should be taken moving forward.”
Up to press time yesterday, 479,818 people had died globally because of the coronavirus, including more than 120,000 deaths in the United States. A recent near two-week spike in Beijing that has led to 256 cases since June 11 was reported to be firmly on the wane yesterday, with seven cases reported in Beijing, down from 13 the day before.
According to the Ministry of Health’s dashboard, the country continued its streak yesterday of no new COVID-19 case. The last new case was reported on June 14, bringing the count to 104. Only one person is hospitalised and there are only nine active cases, with 84 recoveries. Thus far, 2,366 tests have been completed.