The Government is finalising plans to secure a mandatory quarantine facility to accommodate the return of a number of Bahamians in the United States to New Providence, said Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.
There are approximately 200 Bahamians who want to return home, said Minnis.
Minnis was speaking on Monday during a communication to the House of Assembly that included an update on the national response to COVID-19.
“We know from other jurisdictions how rapidly COVID-19 spread in other countries or locales because individuals who were COVID-19 positive returned to their home countries without being quarantined,” he said.
“We cannot risk doing this in The Bahamas because this could lead to a wider outbreak of the virus.”
The quarantine facility for returning residents will be properly secured, Minnis emphasised.
Minnis also shared that the Government is working to try to resolve this matter in the best interest of all concerned and in the best interest of the country.
To enforce quarantine protocols in general, the Prime Minister announced that the Emergency Orders will be amended to enforce a fine of up to $20,000 dollars, or five years imprisonment, or both.
He pointed out that health officials have repeatedly noted that a number of those who should remain in quarantine or isolation at home are not doing so, which could result in greater spread of the virus.
As of 25 April, there were almost 800 individuals in quarantine.