- The Bahamas is restricting commercial flights from the US again in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
- The Caribbean nation has largely avoided an outbreak as severe as the United States, which has failed to contain the virus' spread.
- Private jets and charter flights, however, will still be allowed, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said.
- Wealthy travelers have been identified as vectors for the pandemic in several countries.
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Americans aren't welcome in the Bahamas due to the United States' failure to contain its coronavirus outbreak — unless they come in a private jet.
"International commercial flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers will not be permitted to enter our borders, except for commercial flights from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union," Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a national address Sunday.
The new rule is yet another blow to American passports, which are now unwelcome in the European Union, Iceland, Canada, Japan, and many other countries.
There's a catch for the Bahamas though: "Private international flights and charters for Bahamians, residents and visitors will be permitted," he said.
So far, the island nation has largely avoided an outbreak as severe as the United States, but cases have seen an uptick since the reintroduction of international flights after a three-month hiatus, Minnis said.
While the move to bar most visitors could likely prevent new spread of the virus to the island, the loophole for private flights could prove a vulnerability. Wealthy Mexican travelers — including the chairman of the country's stock exchange — contributed to the spread of the virus after a ski trip to Colorado, according to the LA Times. Elsewhere, a Bollywood singer who refused to quarantine after a trip to London and wealthy college students returning to South Korea contributed as vectors for the pandemic's spread, StarTribune reported.
As commercial flights were hobbled amid the virus' initial spread, private jets saw a surge in demand for repatriation flights. Florida, the largest source of Bahamas-bound tourists, remains the US' top hotspot for the virus, with more than 24,000 new cases reported over the July 18 weekend alone.
"I must tell you, if cases continue to spike and increase, my Government is prepared to implement more restrictive measures," Minnis said. "This is not our wish. But if it has to be done it will be done."
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