Quick Guide to Travellers’ Quarantine Requirements

Ministry of Health Releases Updated Guidelines for Traveller Quarantine Requirements

 

 

Bermuda Responds to CDC Erroneous Classification

Ministry of Health Press Release – August 6th, 2020

The Government of Bermuda was made aware this evening that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has erroneously classified Bermuda’s COVID-19 risk status as “Level 3 – High”.

A Government spokesperson stated, “According to the World Health Organization, Bermuda only has Sporadic Cases. This is the lowest WHO classification outside of No COVID-19 cases.”

The spokesperson concluded, “The government has contacted the US Consulate in Bermuda to communicate its concern with this listing that does not match the reality on the Island.  Bermuda has one of the most stringent testing regimes in the world and we have worked extremely hard to successfully control the coronavirus on our shores.”

6 August COVID-19 Update

Ministry of Health Press Release – August 6th, 2020

Good afternoon Bermuda.

Today I’m joined by the Minister of Health, the Hon. Kim Wilson, the Minister of National Security, the Hon. Renee Ming, and the Minister of Labour, the Hon. Jason Hayward. For this evening’s press conference we will start with an update from the Minister of Health Minister.

MINISTER OF HEALTH READS HER REMARKS:

Good Afternoon,

I hope you all had an enjoyable Cup Match.

Today there were 655 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and none were positive for COVID-19.

Bermuda now has 157 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  1. there are 4 active cases, who are
  2. all under active public health monitoring, and
  3. none is hospitalized or in critical care;
  4. a total of 144 have recovered, and
  5. the total deceased remains 9.

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 59 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years.

Overall, 54% of all cases are Black, 42% are white and 4% are other or unknown.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

  1. 53 are Imported
  2. 85 are Local transmission, with known contact
  3. 19 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  4. none are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status remains “Sporadic Cases”. The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is less than 1.

I want to thank all residents who continued to follow public health guidelines over the Cup Match holiday; those who avoided large gatherings of people, those who wore their masks when they couldn’t physically distance themselves from others, those returning travellers who followed the required testing and quarantine protocols…thank you all.

I also want to thank the hard-working testing teams who did not take a break and continued to work throughout the holiday. COVID-19 did not take a break and neither did they. They have been working around the clock to test visitors, returning residents and members of our community. They are a relatively small team, given the demands of their work – and we are looking to expand their ranks…

The testing teams are increasingly stretched due to the volume of travellers arriving in Bermuda on a daily basis. As such, the Ministry of Health is seeking medical personnel to assist our testing teams with the swabbing of individuals for COVID-19.  In particular, we are seeking those with a background in medicine, nursing, dentistry and Emergency Medical Technicians, whether retired, practicing or students in-training.  Individuals will be compensated for their time and should contact coronavirus@gov.bm for more information or to express an interest.

And now, some good news coming out of the Ministry of health this week…yesterday we opened the COVID-19 testing site for travelers at the historic Perot Post Office.

Thank you to both the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Public Works teams for making this happen – in particular Project Manager Mr. Dean Parris and acting Permanent Secretary Ms Shivon Washington. They put this together so quickly and really did a phenomenal job!

Improvements have already been felt by both staff and travellers attending their required COVID tests. I visited yesterday and the facility is perfectly located, beautifully set up, and enjoys plenty of shade for persons waiting for their turn.  This means that waiting times and lines should shorten at all testing sites, now that we have this specific site just for travellers. The Perot site will operate Monday to Saturday; on Sundays all testing will take place at Southside.

Following the previous COVID-19 modelling, updated parameter values were used to re-estimate the worst case scenario for a one year period following the introduction of COVID-19 in Bermuda. Parameter values are updated over time as more is learned about the epidemiology of COVID-19.

The base for a new worst case scenario uses an average annual reproductive number of 2.4 and lower hospitalization and mortality rates than previously applied. This new model results in an estimated 1600 hospitalizations (1,658) (range is approximately 1300 – 1900 (1,130-1,884)); and 264 deaths (range 113-377) over a one year period.

However, as before, this worst case scenario is impacted by additional control measures of case isolation and general contact reduction, including personal hygiene measures, wearing of face masks, physical distancing, etc. Highly effective use of these interventions can reduce these estimates – at best – to approximately 100 hospitalizations (range 69-114) and 15 deaths (range 6-21) over a one year period.

It is also important to recognize that there is a difference between the modelled world and the real world and that all possible scenarios cannot be envisioned. Effective application of public health measures is key in keeping infections, hospitalizations and COVID-19 related deaths low throughout this pandemic.

The updated modelling will be shared on the coronavirus website next week. Please be reminded that the models produce estimates to support public health preparedness and planning and are not predictions of the expected effect of COVID-19 in Bermuda.

Shifting gears a little to address the challenging case that has received much attention this week regarding an intellectually disabled person going through the court system, I want to give full assurance that specialized health professional, court and corrections teams are working to create a solution for this case.

No one wants to see individuals with intellectual disabilities incarcerated and teams have sought to find a solution within our abilities and resources to care for him.  The safety of every individual, as well as staff and other residents is equally important, and finding a solution that accommodates all is a challenge in a small community that lacks specialized resources.

Managing complex intellectual disability and/or forensic mental health cases often requires low or medium secure units with staff that have specialized training. This is not just a matter of facilities, but, more importantly, of specialized manpower in short supply world-wide. So it is not viable for any small community to set up stand-alone resources for every possible scenario. In larger jurisdictions, such scarce specialized resources service large geographical areas.

Creating solutions for individuals outside of existing services takes time, but the inter-agency team continues to work hard to address gaps in local services and seek the best solution for the individual that ensures safety and appropriate support for his needs.

Finally, I want to update that the Government is concerned about the growing number of uninsured and underinsured in light of increased unemployment due to COVID. This risk to individuals and the health system is deeply worrying and we are looking at what healthcare reforms may be needed in an expedited way to ensure that care is available for these persons.

Before closing, I want to end by returning to COVID-19 and reminding us all that while we don’t have local transmission at this time, the behaviours we are observing are putting us at risk.

Remember that people are travelling to and from places with community transmission. It only takes one imported case to spread COVID among the community, which is why we advise against non-essential travel and better adherence to physical distancing, mask wearing and hand washing.

I have to applaud the venues where we see consistently good adherence to these essential preventive measures: supermarkets, retail stores and buses. They have proven that we can see good compliance and operate safely.

However, I am increasingly concerned about the settings where compliance levels are not good: at private social gatherings, in particular at people’s homes; and on boats, where little physical distancing and mask wearing is practiced at all. These have become the highest risk settings presently.

I ask people to remember that COVID is among us. Letting our guard down when we socialize is the activity putting us most at risk today. Please wear your masks at all times.

Thank You.

Thank you, Minister of Health, and I would certainly like to echo the sentiments which you shared regarding the testing teams. Certainly, they have been going, and that is from the ones who are doing the collections, to the couriers, to the testers, to the administrative staff, the project managers and also the persons inside of the lab. The performance of these teams over the last few weeks, has certainly made Bermuda’s testing regime the envy of the world.

I want to thank all of the persons who are participating, especially working over the holiday and working long hours to make sure that we keep up with this extraordinary demand.

I would also like to add to the Minister’s comments by informing the country that the Governor informed me yesterday that the United Kingdom’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund will be sending a final shipment of personal protective equipment to Bermuda, bringing the total amounts of personal protective equipment supplied under this programme to $1.3 million worth.

Additionally, the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund is also ensuring the Ministry of Health will continue to have access the UK’s Telemed Service, the medical resource comprising international healthcare specialists who provide advice against the fight of the novel coronavirus.

On behalf, the people of Bermuda and the Government of Bermuda, I would like to thank the UK Government for the additional shipment of this equipment. The Bermuda Government has spent millions of dollars on procuring PPE to protect our workers on the front line and this additional shipment will further bolster supplies that we’ve already procured on Island.

I will now invite the Minister of National Security, the Hon. Renee Ming to give an update on her ministries activities over the holiday weekend.

MINISTER RENEE MING READS HER REMARKS:

Good evening Bermuda,

I wish to begin by extending my thanks to all of you for ensuring that this past Cup Match holiday weekend was as incident-free as possible.

For the most part, residents adhered to the guidelines as set out by the Ministry of Health.

While there were a few situations of note which required Police attention, overall there was broad cooperation from our community.

I wish to also commend our joint community engagement teams comprising of the Bermuda Police Service and the Royal Bermuda Regiment who were actively visible over the Cup Match holiday.

All our uniformed personnel worked around the clock to ensure public safety on land and sea.

As indicated by the BPS earlier this week, there were around 27 arrests made between last Wednesday night and Sunday night.

These were for a combination of outstanding warrants, drinking and driving and assaults.

There were some bladed article or knife incidents which required arrests, and just over 60 traffic tickets issued for speeding and other offences.

Over the holiday period, I had an opportunity to visit the Coast Guard at their headquarters in the West End.

I received an impressive and detailed overview of their operations, inclusive of their planned patrol activities over the holiday period.

The Coast Guard has been operating 24/7 during this pandemic period to enforce emergency regulations on the water; to ensure mariners are in compliance with Bermuda’s existing maritime laws; and to respond to search and rescue incidents up to 12 nautical miles from shore.

From all accounts, it was an extremely busy day on the water over the long holiday weekend, and wish to take this opportunity to publicly commend each member of our Coast Guard for their commitment and service.

A note about our 2020 Hurricane Season – which as we have seen has been quite active.

I am urging residents to remain vigilant in ensuring that you are properly prepared in the event of a severe storm or hurricane – particularly against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a reminder, residents should ensure they have the basic supplies in their hurricane kits.

This includes restocking your typical non-perishable food supplies, making sure you have fresh batteries and smartphone battery packs, flashlights and other items to aid in an emergency.

A change to the usual hurricane kit should be the addition of appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) for you and your family.

There should be enough PPE to last for at least seven (7) days for each member of the household.

Residents should also carry out routine activities like updating emergency plans, checking on home and marine vessel insurance and making key repairs around their home.

Emergency and key contact numbers for medical and social services should also be updated.

As a reminder, Hurricane Season is from June 1 – November 30, and as we shared earlier this year, global meteorologists have indicated that this year’s season will be busy due to warmer temperatures.

Please note as I have said previously, we continue to be in the throes of a pandemic.

Bermuda, we have managed very well so far, but it is going to take every one of us to continue to do our part and assist where we can.

If you visit any establishments please adhere to the requisite guidelines.

This includes if you attend any gatherings of up to 50 people.

Please make sure you are taking the right steps to protect yourself and others.

And if at any time you see any breaches of the COVID-19 guidelines please do not hesitate to call the hotline on 2-11.

Regarding the disappearance of Miss Chavelle Dillon-Burgess, I urge the public to please come forward to provide the Bermuda Police Service with any advice or information regarding Ms. Dillon-Burgess’ disappearance to please call 717-0854 or 717-0864.

Alternatively people can also make an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers on 800-8477.

Thank you.

Thank you Minister of National Security.

And I share the sentiments about a largely peaceful weekend. There was a one incident of note, but on the whole, it was certainly an enjoyable and different Cup Match.

The next Minister to speak will be the Minister of Labour, Minister Jason Hayward who will provide details on the next step for those persons on the temporary Unemployment Benefit and will give an update on other matters, inside of this ministry. Minister Hayward.

MINISTER JASON HAYWARD READS HIS REMARKS:

1 Year Residential Certificate Policy

The Government’s 1 Year Residential Certificate initiative, which invites individuals to work remotely from Bermuda has received a very positive response.  To date we have received 73 applications.  Unfortunately, we are receiving incomplete applications which cannot be processed.  However, completed applications will be approved tomorrow, enabling persons to start the process of relocating to Bermuda over the next few weeks.  The requirements are basic and I would implore all applicants to submit completed applications.  It must be emphasized that applicants for the One Year Certificate must have the means to support themselves while working remotely, and cannot seek work in Bermuda.

Bermuda’s successful management of the Coronavirus pandemic and our COVID-19 testing regime places us in a unique competitive position to attract new residents to the island.  The exposure and promotion of the 1 year residential certificate have led to interest in businesses seeking to relocate their entire operations to Bermuda. The Economic Development Department in the Cabinet Office is working with Bermuda Business Development Agency to provide advice and planning to the companies who are looking to relocate.

We have also had inquiries from ABIR about the relocation of some of their staff to the Island and will communicate directly how those plans can be executed.

Financial Assistance and Supplemental Unemployment Benefit

The COVID-19 crisis continues to negatively impact both our local and world economies.  Bermuda has experienced a significant contraction of its labour force.  During the peak of the State of Emergency, more than 10,000 persons found themselves either unable to work, laid off or unemployed.

Based on Government data from the Temporary Unemployment Benefit Database, as of yesterday August 5th, 2020:

  1. There were more than 5,670 persons that had returned to work and therefore are no longer on the Temporary Unemployment Benefit;
  2. There were roughly 4,682 that have not yet informed the Government that they have returned to work;
  3. As of the end of next week, there will be roughly 900 persons who will still remain on the benefit
  4. Of those who remain on the benefit next week, we expect that:
  • 675 will be Bermudian;
  • 36 will be Spouses of Bermudians;
  • 10 will be Permanent Resident Certificate holders;

And 180 will be Work Permit holders

The Government announced that the temporary unemployment benefit which was introduced at the onset of the Pandemic will transition persons to either Financial Assistance or longer term unemployment support.  The purpose of this transition is to ensure that persons who require ongoing assistance from Government receive the appropriate level of support based on their personal and family circumstances.

With the economic impact of the Pandemic continuing to affect many in Bermuda, there will be persons in our community who remain in need of assistance to obtain the basic necessities of life such as food, shelter, and health insurance.  In order to be eligible for continued support, it is essential that persons who require ongoing support apply to Financial Assistance.

Many have asked why they should apply for financial assistance if they are not eligible, due to the fact that they own real estate.  The answer is that the Financial Assistance application will also be used to determine eligibility for the new supplementary benefit, so it is important that all individuals who require ongoing support complete the Financial Assistance application process.  To be clear, only Bermudians and Spouses of Bermudians will be eligible for further benefits.

The Department of Financial Assistance began issuing applications on the first floor of Global House, 43 Church Street, Hamilton to persons in need of additional support. Individuals unable to collect an application are reminded to contact the Department to make alternative arrangements. For additional information, persons can call the Department of Financial Assistance Hotline at 441-297-7867.

When filling out the application, the forms must be 100% completed for the applicant to be considered for assistance. Once all the required information is on the form, they must be submitted in the mailbox located on the first floor in Global House.

The financial assistance process is necessarily rigorous.  All applications will be vetted and applicants notified accordingly.  Should it be determined that you are approved to receive continued assistance, you will begin receiving the approved monthly award payments.  Please note that the Financial Assistance program is mainly ‘cashless’ meaning that vendors are paid directly for and on behalf of the client.

Also as a reminder, financial aid given is only a temporary measure to support those in need.  As such, individuals who are receiving benefits must immediately notify the Government when they commence any form of employment as they will no longer be eligible.

Compliance with Immigration Law & Policy

The Ministry of Labour wishes to remind Employers of their responsibilities toward employees as enshrined in the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act and the Work Permit Policy.

The Ministry is fully cognizant of the financial challenges facing many employers. However, it must be noted that unless there is a written, mutual agreement stating otherwise, it is the Employer’s responsibility to repatriate guest workers to their place of origin.  Furthermore, if a work-permit holder has changed employers, it is the current employer’s responsibility to repatriate their workers.  It should also be noted that an employee whose contract has been terminated due to the conditions set out in section 30 (3) of the Employment Act 2000 are entitled to redundancy pay.

Additionally, employers and employees are reminded that once an employment contract has been terminated or a Work Permit has not been renewed, there is no automatic right to reside and seek further employment in Bermuda.  Individuals who wish to reside and seek employment must apply to the Department of Immigration for permission.

Guest workers should also be aware of their visa status (i.e. current or expired) and take the necessary steps to enable repatriation to their home countries. It is the responsibility of every individual to ensure their travel documents are in order well in advance of any need for overseas travel.

Lastly, if you think someone is illegally working, living, or employed in Bermuda, you should contact the Department of Immigration at https://www.doiapps.gov.bm/immigrationtips/ or by calling 441-296-5202.

Thank you, Minister Hayward.

Today, I will speak about three pressing issues that I believe are pressing for entrepreneurs, families, and employees. The first is the Work from Bermuda Residential Certificate that the Minister of Labour just highlighted. As he stated, since we’ve launched initiative we’ve received a large amount of international media attention, and it is unsurprising as the story has many facets.

To healthcare workers, this certificate signals, our successful management of the Coronavirus.

To global business, it shows that Bermuda is expanding its economic options, and for companies that are already domiciled in Bermuda, they’ve received an increase in clients looking to relocate here.

Additionally, the Bermuda Business Development Agency has received queries and requests for more information from Australia, Canada and the United States inquiring about setting up a Bermuda entity and redomiciling to Bermuda. And this is all due to the fact of our collective successful management of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Also, for additional activity for our local insurance companies the BDA is currently working with them to create health insurance options for one year residential certificate holders. The Bermuda Tourism Authority, who are also stakeholders in the one year residential programme report they have generated more than 30 international news stories around the initiative, with 526 million news impressions, which represents almost a million dollars in media value.

The launch of the Work From Bermuda website was designed to specifically inform potential applicants about the lifestyle aspect of the move to Bermuda, and resources to make the transition easy.

The One Year Residential certificate, is just one of the economic programmes we’re offering to change the adverse effects that the pandemic has had on our economy. And the first batch of applicants will start hearing from the Ministry of Labour, tomorrow.

In reality, remote workers and digital nomads can start arriving in Bermuda, as early as next week. The promotion of this programme will continue for the rest of this year, and into 2021 and further information can be found at workfrombermuda.bm.

Over the last few months we have done everything in our power to collectively manage the Coronavirus on our shores. And this success has only been possible with the support of everyone in Bermuda. I and others have stated, that Bermuda is facing a serious economic challenge, and we will for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.

However, it is important that we now do our part and participate in growing our economy, and like fighting the coronavirus, it will only be possible with the support of everyone in Bermuda.

Of course, it sounds basic, but we must do our part to support Bermudian business. We should eat at our restaurants, you must buy from Bermuda based shops, and we must support farmers, fishermen, seamstresses, landscapers, and if you have a vacation planned, spend those vacation dollars in Bermuda. As local hotels are offering staycation rates for residents and many of them reported that they were full over the Cup Match weekend.

I do recognize that there were many Bermudians who are concerned about the opening of our airport to regularly scheduled commercial traffic. However, as we’ve highlighted today, we’ve successfully developed and implemented the most stringent testing regime in the world. And the welcoming of visitors has a real impact on our economy.

Let me highlight what it means in real numbers, just so we can understand the July airport and tourism figures.

Even though there were not a large amount of arrivals, the amount of visitors and non-residents who entered the airport were 1,725. This equated to $6 million of visitor spending. However, it enabled hotels and other persons to get back to work. This means that 919 persons who were previously unable to work in the tourism sector were able to return to work.

The unemployment benefits savings were $1.2 million. And, it was $400,000 of revenue to the Bermuda Airport Authority, which will offset any future charges from Skyport Bermuda. Opening the airport was a good decision, and it was the right decision to support our families who desperately want to make sure they have an opportunity to earn, and to provide for their families. And though our testing regime is rigorous, and though it was quite a battle to make sure we decided on what it was ending up being, visitors are coming, and visitors are enjoying their time here. And this week, Bermuda even welcomed its first super yacht charter under our new Superyacht Legislation.

The Bermuda Tourism Authority will step up its marketing efforts, as they are now more flights to Bermuda in August than there were in July. It is important that we continue to capitalize on the fact that we have successfully managed this pandemic through our excellent testing programme.

Today, I was pleased to participate with the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation and Bermuda Credit Union press conference to announce an initiative that reduces 50% of the red tape that small business owners face, and helps entrepreneur, access funds, guaranteed by the BEDC much faster.

Previously, entrepreneurs had to go to the BEDC, seek their approval, and then go to a financial institution, seek their approval and if successful, then receive the funds.

Under this new agreement, the Credit Union and the BEDC have agreed underwriting terms, meaning the entrepreneur who needs funding will go to the Credit Union and if they meet their criteria, the BEDC will guarantee up to 75% of the loan. This will put money into the hands of the small business owner faster, giving them the financing they need to launch, any new business enterprise sooner.

It is hoped that the island’s three retail banks will soon begin to start offering this service as well. However, we are thrilled to launch this streamlined programme with the Bermuda Credit Union.

The BEDC has also created the Business Sustainability Funding Programme and has so far, provided support in excess of $4.5 million to 80 local businesses with several more applicants about to be notified that their application was successful.

The BEDC continues to provide ongoing support to entrepreneurs and has implemented a new series of webinars that provide information on a variety of topics such as marketing, support for getting your business online, and privacy to make sure that businesses can thrive inside of our new economic climates.

It is important to recognize that Bermuda is indeed moving to a new economic normal. However, collectively, we get to help to define what that normal looks like for ourselves.

As I said, it is important to support our local economy, so that more and more persons can get back to work. And it is only working together that we will ease the financial difficulty that we are facing. There certainly are challenges ahead of us. But as we have seen, there are also opportunities, and we must as a people continue to be creative.

I’m going to move from the economy to touch on the matter of education and school opening.

Bermuda’s public schools will open to receive school staff and students in their respective buildings, next month. School begins for staff on September 1, and for students on September 9. All of our schools will be adopting a hybrid model for teaching and learning, which includes both in class and remote teaching and learning. One question that parents have been asking is how will students be accommodated in school with physical distancing requirements?

Based on our COVID-19 status of no community transmission, the Department of Health will allow for three feet physical distancing and the use of Plexiglas separations where applicable. This will enable schools to accommodate the majority of their students in school buildings.

Stringent safety and health protocols, will be developed by the Department of Health technical officers and schools are required to enforce the protocols throughout the school day. These protocols are currently on the Department of Education’s website and are being updated as new information is being received from the Department of Health.

The Department of Education has been working on a number of fronts related to reopening schools. Some of these include preparing facilities, securing extra cleaning and hygiene supplies and additional IT devices for students and staff and extending WiFi access in our schools and finalizing the essential curriculum and proficiency scales, while organizing enhanced training for staff.

The Department of Education officers have also participated in meetings with representatives from the Department of Transport to discuss the transportation plan for our students. The Department of

Education is also currently engaged in communication and consultation to ensure that stakeholders, especially our valued teachers are fully informed of reopening plans, and can prepare accordingly.

I urge all Bermuda public school families to attend the town hall zoom meetings with the Commissioner of Education, technical officers and officials from the Department of Health, or follow along in the respective Facebook groups set up for the different school levels. Parents will have the opportunity to ask questions about school reopening in September, during these meetings, and I will highlight these meetings.

Saturday, August, 8: preschool meetings from 11am until 1pm; primary school meetings from 6:30pm until 8:30pm.

Monday, August 10: middle school meetings, from 4pm to 6pm; and senior school meetings from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

On Monday, August 24, Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

All meetings can be accessed live on Bermuda public schools’ Facebook page.

Before I take questions from members of the media, I would like to say two things.

First, I’d like to let members of the public know that I received an email last week, indicating that the Government of Bermuda at these press conferences should do something about many plastic water bottles that we use at each press conference.

My team took this to heart, and we have secured some reusable water bottles. I thank the Information Commissioner’s Office for reusable bottles that are now available for participants in the weekly press conferences, and as Minister of Health, informed earlier, she said it’s about time you got with the programme. Yes Minister of Health.

Finally, I would like to wish a very happy 101st, birthday to Mr. Walter Seymour of Sunnyside Park. Last year I was fortunate enough to attend his 100th birthday celebration, and I’m thankful that God has given him one more year with us on earth.

With that, I’m happy to take any questions that members of the media may have.

Get Tested for COVID-19

Get Tested for COVID-19

For the month of August, the Ministry of Health has partnered with MarketPlace Stores across the Island to offer free COVID-19 Testing.

Please see the list of the dates, locations and times below.

NOTE: As of 29th July 2020, if you are a traveller (resident and visitor), your dates, times and locations have been booked for you. You will receive a reminder email 24 hours before the test day.

 

The Minister of Health the Hon. Kim Wilson JP MP said, “I am extremely pleased to announce that the new, permanent testing site for travelers opened in Hamilton today at the historic Perot Post Office. The Ministry of Health and Public Works teams that put this together so quickly did a phenomenal job and the improvements have already been felt by both staff and travelers presenting for their required COVID tests. I visited today and the facility is perfectly located, beautifully set up, and enjoys plenty of shade for persons waiting for their turn. My deepest thanks goes to the incredible individuals and teams who made this happen.”

COVID-19 Update – August 5

Ministry of Health Press Release – August 5th, 2020

Today there were 734 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and none were positive for COVID-19.

Bermuda has 157 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  • there are now 4 active cases, who are
  • all under active public health monitoring, and
  • none is hospitalized or in critical care;
  • a total of 144 have recovered,
  • the total deceased remains 9, and

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 59 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

  • 53 are Imported
  • 85 are Local transmission, with known contact
  • 19 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  • none are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status is “Sporadic Cases”. The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is less than 1.

The Minister of Health the Hon. Kim Wilson JP MP said, “I am extremely pleased to announce that the new, permanent testing site for travelers opened in Hamilton today at the historic Perot Post Office. The Ministry of Health and Public Works teams that put this together so quickly did a phenomenal job and the improvements have already been felt by both staff and travelers presenting for their required COVID tests. I visited today and the facility is perfectly located, beautifully set up, and enjoys plenty of shade for persons waiting for their turn. My deepest thanks goes to the incredible individuals and teams who made this happen.”

Minister Wilson added: “The Ministry of Health is seeking medical personnel to assist our testing teams with the swabbing of individuals for COVID-19. The testing teams are increasingly stretched due to the volume of travelers arriving in Bermuda on a daily basis. In particular, we are seeking persons with a background in medicine, nursing and dentistry (retired, practicing or students in-training), as well as Emergency Medical Technicians.  Individuals will be compensated for their time and should contact coronavirus@gov.bm for more information or to express an interest.”

COVID-19 Update – August 4

Ministry of Health Press Release – August 4th, 2020

Today there were 721 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and none were positive for COVID-19.

Bermuda has 157 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  • there are now 4 active cases, who are
  • all under active public health monitoring, and
  • none is hospitalized or in critical care;
  • a total of 144 have recovered,
  • the total deceased remains 9, and

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 59 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

  • 53 are Imported
  • 85 are Local transmission, with known contact
  • 19 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  • none are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status is “Sporadic Cases”. The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is less than 1.

COVID-19 Update – August 3

Ministry of Health Press Release – August 3rd, 2020

Between Sunday and today there were 1,487 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and none were positive for COVID-19.

Bermuda has 157 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  • there are now 4 active cases, who are
  • all under active public health monitoring, and
  • none is hospitalized or in critical care;
  • a total of 144 have recovered,
  • the total deceased remains 9, and

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 59 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

  • 53 are Imported
  • 85 are Local transmission, with known contact
  • 19 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  • none are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status is “Sporadic Cases”. The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is less than 1.

The Minister of Health the Hon. Kim Wilson JP MP said, “The holiday weekend was a time for fun and relaxation for the country as a whole – a much needed and deserved respite. However, my deepest thanks goes to the COVID-19 testing teams who continued to work diligently throughout the holiday weekend to ensure traveller testing continued to take place and results could be delivered as fast as possible. We are aware that at times there were longer than usual waits for testing and results over the long weekend, but we beg the public’s patience and understanding while our small teams handle an increasingly large volume of tests.

“Bermuda is a very small jurisdiction and we are testing approximately 500 people a day. This is a very significant number for a population our size. We return the vast majority of results in less than 24 hours, which is far better than most jurisdictions, as many travelers complain they can’t get results overseas in 7 days to obtain approval to travel to Bermuda.

“Our testing is also free to non-travelers and, while there are lines waiting for the testing, we have worked hard to ensure we avoid the multi-hour queues that are reported in some other jurisdictions.

People should attend for testing per their scheduled time, to minimize wait times; however, we ask for your continued patience as Bermuda’s Ministry of Health team handles significant volumes of testing to keep the country safe.”

COVID 19 Update – August 1

Ministry of Health Press Release – August 1

During the Cup Match holiday, between Thursday and today, there were 1,049 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and one was positive for COVID19. The new case was imported on Friday’s Delta flight from Atlanta.

Bermuda has 157 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

• there are 5 active cases, who are

• all under active public health monitoring

• none are hospitalized or in critical care;

• a total of 143 have recovered

• the total deceased remains 9.

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 59 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

• 53 are Imported

• 85 are Local transmission, with known contact

• 19 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and

• none are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status is “Sporadic Cases”. The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is less than 1. Bermuda has now conducted 22,755 tests.

July 28 Press Conference Update

Bermuda Government COVID-19 Update July 28 2020

 

Good afternoon Bermuda. Welcome to tonight’s COVID-19 press conference. Joining me today are the Minister of Health, the Hon. Kim Wilson, the Minister of National Security, the Hon. Renee Ming, and the Minister of Public Works, the Hon. Lt Col David Burch.

We will start our press conference this evening with remarks for the Minister of Health, on the latest update regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Minister of Health.

Minister of Health

Today there were 555 test results received by the Ministry of Health; and 2 were positive for COVID-19. Both new cases were imported on the Delta flight from Atlanta on 27th July 2020.

Bermuda now has 156 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  • there are 6 active cases, who are
  • all under active public health monitoring, and
  • none is hospitalized or in critical care;
  • a total of 141 have recovered, and
  • the total deceased remains 9.

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 59 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years.

Overall, 54% of all cases are Black, 40% are white and 6% are other or unknown.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

  • 52 are Imported
  • 85 are Local transmission, with known contact
  • 19 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  • none are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status remains “Sporadic Cases”. The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is less than 1.

As we enter the Cup Match weekend, some of you may have travel plans for the holiday period…I would urge those individuals – and ANYONE considering travel over the next few weeks – to read the Ministry of Health’s Travel Advice for Residents, which is currently posted at coronavirus.gov.bm.

To be clear – in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health advises that Bermuda residents should avoid all non-essential overseas travel until further notice.

Keep in mind that many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions, and new restrictions may be imposed with little warning. Therefore your travel plans may be severely disrupted and you may be forced to remain outside of Bermuda longer than expected, incurring additional expenses.

If you’re thinking about travelling off of the Island during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should consider the following:

  • Anticipate a greater risk of exposure if travelling by public means (bus, train, or airplane) and take enhanced measures to protect yourself such as wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, washing your hands and using hand sanitizer often.
  • Explore with your employer any quarantine restrictions that you will be required to adhere to in your workplace upon you return.
  • Ensure that you have sufficient finances and necessities, including medication, in case your travels are disrupted.
  • Understand the risk of your safety and security abroad.
  • Make sure you are up to date on measles, mumps, and seasonal flu vaccinations.
  • Ensure you pack extra alcohol-based hand sanitizers and non-perishable foods; and be prepared to clean and disinfect your travel lodgings.

If you must travel during the COVID-19 pandemic there are certain things you must do during your trip. This includes the following:

  • Avoid large crowds or crowded areas;
  • Avoid contact with sick people, especially those with cough, fever or difficulty breathing;
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer;
  • And wear a mask in all public settings.

Upon return to Bermuda, you must comply with all testing and quarantine requirements. You will find the latest information by clicking the “travellers” tab on coronavirus.gov.bm. If you cannot get a COVID test in the country you are visiting, you will be required to quarantine for 4 days on your return.

There are also specific Return to Work standards which employers and employees should follow; these can also be found on the coronavirus.gov.bm page. They group employees into one of three workplace settings – low risk, medium risk and high risk, which then dictate how an employee should proceed when returning to work after travel.

Returning residents who work in high-exposure risk settings must quarantine for 14 days and have a day-14 negative test for clearance to return to work. This would apply to workers with close, sustained contact with the public and include institutional settings. For example:

  • Care homes;
  • Patient care settings;
  • Corrections;
  • And Health Professionals.

This is because institutionalized settings have a higher density of populations, closer interactions where it is difficult to physically distance and, in some, more vulnerable populations. Therefore the risk of COVID-19 spread is higher in these settings and the Gold standard for COVID-19 prevention should be instituted.

For those who work in Medium risk settings such as retail stores, construction sites, police, public transport and schools and camps, they have two options. They can either adopt a 14-day quarantine until day 14 test results return. Employees can work remotely if possible. Or they should wait for three negative test results before the employee returns to work following the travel.

These settings can implement physical distancing; however, a balance between testing and reconfiguring the work environment can provide some safety when returning to work. Three negative test results within an incubation period for COVID-19 provides some level of assurance.

For those who work in low risk settings such as remote workers and office workers without frequent close contact with others, return to work requires compliance with the normal traveler quarantine and testing regime, as they can work remotely and would not be of increased risk of exposing their colleagues or the public. These workers do not have close, sustained contact with other persons and therefore are of low risk to transmit the virus.

As always, before I step away from the podium tonight, I want to urge residents to continue to wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer before and after entering any store or public building, shield our medically vulnerable, avoid congregating in large groups, and continue to wear your mask and keep six feet apart if you are not wearing one.

I want to stress that plastic face shields are no substitute for a mask. Face shields may be worn in addition to – but not instead of – a mask. Recent studies have shown that face shields do not protect you or others from COVID-19 as well as a mask.

While on this topic of mask-wearing, I want to remind all summer camps that adults and students over the age of 10 must wear as mask if they are not physically distancing (more than 6 feet apart) from others while inside.

Also, I wish to remind diners and restaurants that there is still a maximum of ten diners allowed per table and that there is a continuing requirement for them to wear masks whenever moving around the restaurants or not at their table. These rules are enforceable by law and apply equally to bars, clubs and liquor license establishments.

I know this Cup Match holiday weekend will be completely different from anything we have enjoyed in the past – no game, no large gatherings with family and friends – but I truly hope that each of you finds joy and a chance to connect with those you love over the next few days. It will be different, but it can still be fun; it can still be meaningful…Cup Match can still be whatever it always was to you.

Thank You. Happy Cup Match. Stay safe and please practice SafeSix… keep six feet apart or wear a mask!

Thank you Minister Wilson.

Before I go to the next minister, my office has received a number of questions surrounding the ending of the Unemployment Benefit to people who aren’t able to work through no fault of their own, as a result of COVID-19.

The first question is about the schedule of payments. The next payments will be made at the end of next week, and there will be no payment made this week Friday. The Benefit ends after a maximum of 18 weeks of payments. This is made up of the original 12 week benefit, plus the initial four week extension, and the further two week extension announced last week.

Individuals started to receive the Benefit at different times. Therefore the end times will vary. However persons who received the benefit at the first week will be eligible for the full 18 weeks.

You do not have to reapply to receive the two week extension. And this extension was granted to give those who came onto the Benefit in the very first weeks, the ability to apply for financial assistance, and to give them time to submit their application and so their application can be processed.

Applications for financial assistance can be found in the lobby of Global House at 43 Church Street. Once the application has been completed. It can be returned to the secure dropbox, also located on the ground floor of Global House.

So far, just over 100 people have submitted an application for financial assistance, who were on the Unemployment Benefit. It is important to note that not everyone who is on the Unemployment Benefit will be able to qualify for Financial Assistance. For those persons who apply for Financial Assistance, and do not qualify, the government is developing a Supplemental Unemployment Benefit. The Minister of Labour will release the details of this Benefit next week.

It is critically important that everyone is aware that you must apply for Financial Assistance, so you can go through the assessment process. If you do not qualify for Financial Assistance, you will then be able to qualify for the Supplemental Benefit but you must go through the process to ensure that your needs are accurately assessed.

Many in Bermuda are starting to prepare for the two day Cup Match holiday. I now invite the Minister of National Security to give an update on what her ministry is doing to prepare for the holiday. Minister Ming.

Minister of National Security

Good evening Bermuda,

This weekend provides an opportunity for the island to come together to celebrate our Emancipation heritage once again.

Even though we won’t be celebrating via the Annual Cricket Classic this year, it’s still a holiday. And it’s our expectation that many of our residents will be heading to our beaches and parks and spending considerable time on the water over the long holiday weekend.

I would like to reiterate that our joint community engagement teams comprising of the Bermuda Police Service and the Royal Bermuda Regiment will be actively visible over the Cup Match holiday.

Please note that the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) has a robust policing plan in place in order to ensure public safety.

With the expectation of large gatherings, they will be present at beaches such as Horseshoe Bay Beach, Clearwater Beach and other frequently attended beaches and park areas.

On the topic of events and gatherings of more than 50 individuals, we continue to urge those in attendance to adhere to the guidelines.

At all times, please practice the appropriate health and safety measures such as physical distancing, mask wearing and proper hand hygiene.

We are also urging the public to use common sense when it comes to alcohol consumption over the holiday period.

As you know, the BPS will be conducting Road Side Sobriety checks across the island over the holiday weekend.

As it relates to recreational boating over the holiday, the BPS and the Coast Guard will be present on our waters to ensure that the marine environment is as safe as possible.

The Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Reserve comprising of Police Officers, RBR soldiers, and Reserve Police Officers will be operating 24-hours a day across Bermuda’s waters, including up to 12 miles from shore.

Regarding the COVID-19 regulations, boaters should be aware of the following:

  • Social distancing on boats must be adhered to;
  • Raft-ups are allowed….  BUT, the right precautions MUST be in place such as the wearing of masks if 3-feet of distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Raft-Ups must not exceed 50 people.

Some general water safety points to know:

  • File a Float Plan with a friend or the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre before leaving shore;
  • Boaters must have the appropriate safety equipment on board such as life jackets; a working VHF radio and navigation lights;
  • Boaters should not exceed the 5-knot speed limit;
  • Alcohol consumption – As a reminder, operating a vessel under the influence is prohibited;
  • Music – The public is reminded to be courteous to other recreational boaters when playing loud music on the water;
  • Jet Skis – Over the Cup Match weekend, in accordance with the Marine Board Notice 2020, jet skis are prohibited from entering the areas of Paradise Lakes and Mangrove Bay.

To quote aspects of the notice:

Any person operating a personal watercraft, commonly known as a jet ski, is prohibited from entering these areas of water, between 5.00 am Thursday 30 July 2020 – 11.00 pm Sunday 2 August 2020.

The areas include: Paradise Lakes, including all waters between Hawkins Island, Nelly Island, Ports Island, Long Island, Beta Island, Gamma Island, Delta Island, Epsilon Island, Zeta Island, Iota Island, Eta Island, Marshalls Island and Fern Island.

Additionally, the areas of Mangrove Bay in Somerset, Watford Bridge King’s Point, Somerset Long Bay, Cambridge Beaches in Somerset, and Daniel’s Head to Flora Point are also off limits to jet skis.

Ultimately, we wish to ensure a safe and peaceful time on the water for recreational boaters.

Anyone violating these regulations could face prosecution.

If anyone wishes to report a breach on land or water, they can do so by calling 211.

I wish to make the public aware that, in the event that we do have any anti-social behaviour or violence of any kind, the Gang Violence Reduction Team and our Coordinated Crisis Response Team will be on standby this Cup Match weekend to mitigate any matters.

Moving on from Cup Match expectations, I would like to take a minute to highlight and remind the public as to the guidelines for indoor dining, please remember that:

  • All staff must wear masks at all times
  • Guests must wear face masks whilst waiting to be seated and other times when not at their table
  • Physical distancing should be maintained at least 6 feet when queuing
  • Guests must use hand sanitizer or wash hands before entering establishment
  • Clear signage must be provided at the entrance to the establishment and within the premises in relation to regulations, face masks being worn, physical distancing, hand hygiene
  • A copy of the guidance document must be prominently displayed within the establishment
  • The establishment must have systems in place to ensure physical distance in restroom facilities as well as a robust cleaning regime
  • Contact tracing measures should also be in place to ensure adequate tracing in the event of an outbreak, measure such as: tables should be numbered, servers name visible, and details of each diner should also be recorded including date of visit, name, address and contact information.

These contact tracing procedures have been implemented as they are an essential part in combatting any outbreak from a communicable disease. Remember we are still battling COVID-19 on the island, it’s essential that we have procedures in place to assist with tracing any occurrence of an outbreak.

It is going to take every one of us to do our part and assist where we can.

If you visit any establishments and/or observe behaviours where the COVID-19 guidelines are not being adhered to please mention it to them and also follow up by calling 211 as well.

We have weathered this virus quite well thus far and it is my hope that we will not see a spike in cases after the holiday is over.

Finally Bermuda, I wish all of Bermuda a safe and happy 2020 Cup Match, Emancipation Day and Mary Prince Day holiday.

Thank you.

Thank you very much Minister Ming.

I will now ask the Minister of Public Works to give an update on what beach goers and campers need to know to be safe this holiday weekend.

Minister of Public Works

(To be added at a later time)

Thank you Col. Burch.

It was great to join you earlier today for the groundbreaking ceremony for the Ottiwell Simmons International Arbitration Centre. And as you mentioned, its projects like this, that will ensure Bermudians are able to get back to work, as we work to rebuild Bermuda’s economy.

As we look at more seats becoming available for travelers to the island, as airlines increase their flights, more hotels will begin to open and the number of hotel rooms available will increase. Therefore, providing more opportunities for Bermudians to return to work.

It is anticipated that by the end of August, the number of hotel rooms will almost triple from 345 to 948. This is good news for the employees at the hotels that are planning to open and the government will continue to work with our hoteliers to provide the support required for their employees during this time of transition.

As we head into the Cup Match weekend, I just want to pause and reflect on the significance of the holiday. The first day is Emancipation Day, recognizing the abolition of slavery in Bermuda. This year, for the first time we will recognize the second day of Cup Match as Mary Prince Day.

Mary Prince is a Bermudian national hero. A Black woman whose definitive narrative, revealing the harsh injustices endured by black people in Bermuda in the early 1800s, formed a critical contribution to the movement for the abolition of slavery.  We honor her for her bravery and her courage and we’re proud that we celebrate Mary Prince Day for the first time this year.

As we talk and reflect on the holiday. I often speak about the new normal and many of us will be practicing it this weekend. While we celebrate and reflect this weekend, we must also be mindful of the tough times that are to come. The struggle that will test us as a country.

It is important that as your Premier, and your government, we are real and honest with all Bermudians. The new normal will not be just about social distancing. It will be about how we collectively cope during a period of great economic challenge. It will be about how we all play our part to participate and be productive in our economy, wherever we can.

It will be about how we save and invest in each other. It’ll be about how we work to be our brother and our sister’s keeper. And it will be about how we look out for those who are less fortunate than us, and strive to assist those will be challenged over the next few months.

I make no bones about it, we are certainly going to be in for a period of economic difficulty. So our celebrations must be tempered with reality of what is to come. As I’ve given the assurance at many times, the government will not abandon people,

Just like we innovated as a people to stay ahead of the virus, we must collectively be as innovative to thrive as we work together to build our economy. It’s important to note that the government cannot do it all by itself. It’s going to require a collective effort of all persons in this country, moving and rowing in the same direction.

So though I’m concerned of the challenges ahead, I have no doubt that if we remain united, as a country we will be able to prevail. Let us carry the spirit of unity into this holiday and beyond, as that is the only thing that will ensure that Bermuda can emerge from this upcoming period of economic challenge as a stronger and more united country.

As I conclude my formal remarks, I want to make sure that we continue to take precautions, as we enjoy this holiday weekend. Physical distancing, wearing a mask and appropriate hand hygiene are a must.

With the announcement of the two more important cases from a turning resident, COVID-19 is still very much a factor in our daily lives. We must remain strong, vigilant and united as a country, to keep this virus at bay, so that we can continue the work to rebuild our economy. With that, I’m happy to take questions from members of the media here this evening.

COVID-19 Update – July 27

Ministry of Health Press Release – July 27th, 2020

Good Day Members of the Media,

Today there were 803 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and none were positive for COVID-19.

Bermuda has 154 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  •   there are now 4 active cases, who are
  •   all under active public health monitoring, and
  •   none is hospitalized or in critical care;
  •   a total of 141 have recovered,
  •   the total deceased remains 9, and

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 59 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years.

The average age of all deceased cases is 74 and the age range is 57 to 91 years.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

  •   50 are Imported
  •   85 are Local transmission, with known contact
  •   19 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  •   none are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status is “Sporadic Cases”. The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is less than 1.