Minnis punishing Eleuthera for spike in COVID cases

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Eleuthera| As of Thursday, Eleuthera residents will pay the price, literally, for a recent increase in Covid-19 cases.

The Competent Authority has implemented new travel requirements for Eleuthera and Harbour Island, which will force residents traveling from the island to pay for pricy RT PCR Covid-19 tests.

RT PCR tests cost on average of $130 per person and are said to be even more expensive on the family islands.

“In accordance with the Emergency Powers, persons traveling from Harbour Island and Eleuthera will now be required to undergo a RTPCR COVID-19 test in order to obtain a travel health visa,” according to the Office of The Prime Minister.

The requirement takes effect on Thursday and applies to persons older than 10 years of age traveling from Harbour Island and Eleuthera, to other parts of The Bahamas.

This does not apply to travel between mainland Eleuthera and its surrounding islands and cays.

Travelers from Eleuthera and Harbour Island will also now be required to take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test on the fifth day after arrival to their destination within The Bahamas.

The more stringent travel measures are in response to a recent increase in coronavirus cases on the island, which health officials have blamed on spring break activity.

Eleuthera has recorded 19 new cases since March 21 with new cases confirmed almost daily.

Bahamians have asked the Minnis Administration to follow the lead of the neighboring United States, which allows travelers to present rapid antigen tests, which are far more affordable and cost as little as $15. However, the government says it has no intention of shifting from its current travel protocols which require the costly RT PCR test.