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Expat Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus in Nassau, Bahamas

By Robbai

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Coronavirus-in-Nassau,-Bahamas

Sep 28, 2020 Update

We Asked: What is currently happening with regard to the Coronavirus outbreak in your area? Please provide as much detail as possible. He replied...

The COVID19 positive test numbers had been decreasing a little but now they are starting to increase again. Overall numbers are not high but as a % of population we are in the top countries with most new cases.

How People are Coping

We Asked: How are people handling the situation in your area? He replied...

Most people go about their regular lives. The only real exceptions are wearing a mask, we can not have social gatherings, beaches are only open until noon (this is to avoid afternoon parties) and we all have a curfew of 22:00 every night.

Restaurants are also open for outdoor dining only.

Government Response

We Asked: Describe how the government of the country about which you are reporting is handling this situation. He replied...

Initially they were very strict with the restrictions and we were even in full lockdown for quite an extended time. This hurt the economy and caused other issues so the govt has slowly opened up and been more flexible.

They want to open up to tourism again soon but the big hotels are not in a rush to reopen so it remains to be seen how that will work out.

Supplies and Shortages

We Asked: Is there a shortage of supplies in your location? He replied...

We have access to practically everything the same as before. We did have an initial shortage of sanitizer and alcohol but this is readily available again.

Travel Restrictions and Related COVID-19 Testing

We Asked: Are non-citizens allowed to travel to your country? Describe travel restrictions, COVID-19 testing requirements and any details about traveling into your country. He replied...

Our borders are still closed to most tourism and the ones that can come in must provide a negative test result and then quarantine for 14 days on island. The quarantine can be done in a hotel, private property or airbnb style property but you must not have contact with other guests.

Health Insurance Requirements

We Asked: Is health insurance required when traveling into the country? Is it required when applying for residency? Is this a new requirement since COVID-19? Describe the health insurance requirement. He replied...

This has always been a requirement on a personal level but not enforced. You do need the insurance regardless as you wont be able to get medical attention here if you do become sick so you will need to fly out to Florida or elsewhere to be treated.

COVID-19 Testing

We Asked: How easy or difficult is it to get a COVID-19 test locally? Where can you get tested? Do you need to have symptoms or a prescription from a doctor? Describe the process. He replied...

It is not difficult, you just make an appointment at a private clinic and pay for it. The results are typically returned in about 4 days.

Public Healthcare & Public Hospitals

We Asked: Are you enrolled in the public healthcare system where you live? Do you feel that the public hospitals are handling or preparing for the Coronavirus outbreak effectively? He replied...

No, the local medical systems are overrun and beds are not available anymore. Should you get very sick you will need to fly out and get treated elsewhere.

Private Health Insurance & Private Hospitals

We Asked: Do you have private health insurance? If you have private insurance, does this give you access to private hospitals? Are private hospitals or clinics better prepared, less prepared, or the same? Please explain. He replied...

I do have private health insurance. This covers me for local treatment but also for air transport to be treated elsewhere if needed. The hospitals are overun and some hotels are also being used as coronavirus quarantine centers for positive cases.

Hospital of Choice for Coronavirus Treatment

We Asked: Would you choose a public or private hospital if you needed treatment for Coronavirus? Why? If there is a specific hospital that you would go to in the event of severe illness? Which hospital and why? He replied...

I would fly out and get treatment at a private hospital. My insurance would only cover a short trip so I would likely get treated in Florida.

Residency & Visa

We Asked: Are new residency applications being processed? Have there been any changes or extensions made in terms of residency and other visa renewals? He replied...

The residency applications and renewals are very backed up. We are normally quite slow with the processing already but it is now twice as long as usual. The offices were shut down for a long time but now are open again and starting to process the open files again.

They have plans to offer a new type of visa for foreigners who can work from home so they can move here and enjoy the Bahamas while continuing to work for their business in another country.

Future Outlook

We Asked: Are you considering returning to your home country due to the Coronavirus? Would this be a temporary move or a permanent repatriation? Please explain. He replied...

The biggest change for me is that we feel stuck here. The travel restrictions meant we have not travelled back to our birth country to visit family and friends in a long time. We normally do so twice a year but now have not been able to do so since the COVID19 started.

I would still choose to live here but not being able to travel has really complicated things and forced me to find alternative solutions for many of my regular routine processes.

Other Thoughts

We Asked: Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share? He replied...

This are likely to change again here once they open to tourism travel again. This is unavoidable as the economy survives on tourism but of course with that comes more risk of transmission of the virus. The government is talking about opening to tourism again in October, though it remains to be seen if the big hotels will follow this schedule. BahaMar has already announced they will not reopen till they feel it is safe for the guests and employees and likely not before January.

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