Quick Guide to Travellers’ Quarantine Requirements

Ministry of Health Releases Updated Guidelines for Traveller Quarantine Requirements

 

 

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 23 2020

Bermuda Government COVID-19 Update July 23 2020

 

 

Good afternoon, Bermuda.

Today, I am 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. I welcome Minister Ming to her first press conference.

I’m pleased to join you again today as we continue to update Bermuda on the matters surrounding your government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and the work that we are undertaking to ensure that we can repair the harm to our economy that this once in a century event has caused.

We will start this evening with an update from the Minister of Health. Minister.

Minister Of Health’s Statement

Good Afternoon,

Today there were 362 test results received by the Ministry of Health; and none were positive for COVID-19.

Bermuda now has 153 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  • there are 5 active cases, who are
  • all under active public health monitoring, and
  • none is hospitalized or in critical care;
  • a total of 139 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, 41% are white and 4% are other or unknown.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

  • 49 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.

I know there have been many questions about the results we reported as pending last weekend. These were ultimately confirmed to not have been cases and I want to assure the public that this is simply part of our stringent protocols to control COVID-19.

As part of routine quality control measures, results are considered in terms of the present medical history and epidemiological pattern and, if there is any doubt, we isolate and re-test.

Our regime uses highly sensitive tests which can pick up transient positives in asymptomatic individuals. These may have a viral load that is sufficient to be detected but warrants further investigation. Upon the re-testing of these cases, originally flagged as positive, we were able to confirm that these persons were not active carriers of the virus.

Affected individuals were informed and released from isolation and quarantine. However, I totally understand the distress this caused individuals who had to be pre-emptively isolated. While not pleasant, this is course of action is better than the alternative – having potentially positive persons freely interacting with others inadvertently spreading COVID in the community.

I have to applaud the Public Health Emergency Response Team at the Ministry of Health together with the Bermuda Hospitals Board, who took immediate action to identify and isolate all risks. Not only is our testing regime exceedingly rigorous, but our ability to rapidly take public health action to isolate cases and prevent spread truly showed its muster with this incident.

The handling of this situation is a testament to the rigour of our testing system and the efficiency of our public health capacity.

In addition, I’m delighted that BHB has now developed COVID-19 testing capability as well. This added capacity is very welcome as we gear up anticipating to be doing around 1,000 tests a day as of August with the increased flight volume and our stringent testing regime.  BHB has been working on this for a couple of months so it could not have come at a better time!

Members of the public may have noticed the number of tests carried out daily by the Ministry of Health continues to rise significantly; due, in part, to the implementation of pop-up testing and, more recently, with the opening of our borders to commercial flights.

This has taken a tremendous amount of planning by teams in Ministries across the Government. Meetings take place daily with a core group of individuals who troubleshoot any issues, identify solutions and keep track of current and future needs; pre-empting any possible issues, misinterpretations or policy tweaks. It is thanks to them that we have been able to successfully action this enormous undertaking.

In particular, I want to give a massive shout out to our testing teams who have been swabbing and processing over 500 tests a day, with those at the airport and at the pop-ups testing hundreds of travellers in just a couple of hours. Their energy, enthusiasm and dedication to public health is beyond compare and I want them to know I deeply appreciate their efforts – the country owes you a debt of gratitude as you help to keep us safe from COVID-19.

As always, 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.

It is more important than ever that we not take our collective eyes off the ball, for even a moment. If we do, that could lead to increased numbers of patients requiring hospitalization, critical care and, at worst, more fatalities. We are a tiny island and despite very good healthcare service delivery, it would not take much to overwhelm our health system and the hospital.

While COVID did enter some of our care homes, unlike other countries our teams did a phenomenal job containing outbreaks and preventing the sorts of outcomes we saw elsewhere. Yet, despite this, 30% of all cases and 30% of all deaths were related to care homes which is a stark reminder of the vulnerability of this population. We cannot slacken our standards to protect our seniors.

We all have a huge responsibility to care for each other and to protect our vulnerable community. We are our brother’s keeper and have an enormous responsibility to each other, to support and help each other and to protect one another.

Physical distancing, mask wearing and hand hygiene are proven protective mechanisms and we need to be constantly on our guard to ensure that we are maintaining these clinical standards for the foreseeable future.

Nobody knows for sure what our future holds and we have to be cautious and safe in how we act today.

As a Government, I can assure you we are doing all that we possibly can to protect you. However, it is essential that we all remember that, ultimately, it is our individual contributions that will go the furthest in determining how we, our families, and our country fare.

Thank You

Thank you Minister of Health.

It cannot be understated how well the country has responded to the threat that this pandemic has posed. I would again like to thank the teams at the Ministry of Health, who have worked flat out for the last six months.

The reopening of our borders have meant more testing. A few months ago we set a target for 200 tests a day. For the last week we’re now averaging 450 tests a day. As the airport has more flights that will be more testing is required.

It has been an incredible effort that has been mobilized to keep our country safe. We should all be proud of the work that is being done from our port health workers, to the testers, to lab technicians, to contact tracers, and the team at the Department of Health.

We are proving to the world that you can reopen your borders with strict controls, while keeping your country safe. While we see the pictures about other countries who have long lines for testing or read the news stories of other places in the world where they are going back into stricter control measures, such as lockdowns and curfews, Bermuda has and continues to do well.

It is important that we keep our guard up. I’ve been asked many times on social media about the number of tourists being tested versus the number of Bermuda residents. Currently, the system is not set up to quickly separate that information. However, the Minister and the team at the information technology office inside of the Government of Bermuda are working on upgrades the system which will enable us to report those results.

I now invite the Minister of National Security to give an update from her ministry. Minister Ming.

Minister of National Security’s Statement

Good evening Bermuda,

First and foremost, I wish to extend my thanks to all those who have offered well wishes since my appointment as Minister. I also wish to express my appreciation to the Acting Permanent Secretary, Dr. Danette Ming and all those in the Ministry of National Security who have extended their support in updating me on all the critical matters happening in the Ministry. I’ve come to appreciate that this is an extremely significant Ministry, charged with ensuring the protection and security of our borders and the public safety of our residents.

The commitment never ceases, and I am very grateful to the entire team in the Ministry who work daily to keep our island safe.

With that, I wish to provide a general overview of the public safety preparations underway for the Cup Match holiday. Typically, the holiday weekend provides an opportunity for the island to come together to celebrate our heritage and our sporting traditions. This year however, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to reassess how we conduct our gatherings.

Even though we won’t be celebrating 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.

In that regard, the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) has developed a robust policing plan in order to maintain public safety.

We want to ensure a safe and peaceful holiday and the BPS is working in partnership with the Royal Bermuda Regiment (RBR), the Coastguard, the Department of Parks, St. Johns Ambulance, the Road Safety Council, the Water Safety Council and CADA.

With the expectation of large crowds at our beaches and parks, the BPS and the RBR will have a visible presence at Horseshoe Bay Beach and Clearwater beach advising the public to maintain physical distancing.

The BPS will also be deploying drone assets to monitor large public areas such as beaches and parks.

As announced last week by the Minister of Public Works, Lt. Col. David Burch, with the lifting of the curfew, camping and boating are permitted.

We encourage persons to please practice the appropriate health and safety measures.

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

As you are aware, the BPS will be conducting Roadside Sobriety checks throughout the island.

Quite simply – don’t drink and drive, and above all, have a plan to get home safely.

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

In particular, the traditional popular gathering that takes place at Mangrove Bay on the Sunday following the holiday, will be monitored closely.

On the topic of events and gatherings of more than 50 individuals, I can confirm that the Ministry has received a number of applications for exemptions for the holiday period. They are under active review and we are in consultation with the Ministry of Health.

We expect that any event that is held, whether it is a gathering of 50 persons or an approved gathering of more than 50 persons, we still urge those in attendance to adhere to the health guidelines in place.

These are for your protection and for the protection of your loved ones.

We continue to review and refine the guidelines as it relates to event exemption guidelines.

Lastly, typically our Cup Match holiday is a festive period. Even against the backdrop of COVID-19, we expect that members of the community will seek to enjoy this national holiday to the fullest.

Bear in mind, though, the public safety precautions in place by the BPS and its partner agencies, are designed to ensure that any festivities remain safe and free of anti-social behaviour.

Let’s all work together to make sure that the 2020 Cup Match, Emancipation Day and Mary Prince Day holiday can be remembered for the many enjoyable experiences – and not be marred by any major disturbances, gang violence, road traffic incidents or infringements of the COVID-19 regulations.

As the Minister responsible for National Security, I wish to take this opportunity to thank all of our essential personnel, uniformed services and emergency agencies for their tireless work.

Thank you.

Thank you Minister Ming.

I know you’ve had to hit the ground running, but I’m confident that Bermuda will heed the advice which you’ve given to ensure that as we lead up to our annual holiday, the country will remain safe.

Now, I will ask Minister Hayward to give an update on the activity taking place within his ministry, including the details of the extension of the unemployment benefit.

Minister Hayward.

Minister of Labor’s Statement

Good Evening,

My remarks tonight will focus on updates in three (3) areas within the Ministry of Labour:

  1. the Unemployment Benefit;
  2. the Department of Workforce Development; and
  3. the 1 Year Residential Certificate.

Extending the Unemployment Benefit

The public is aware that the Government’s unemployment benefit which was extended from 12 to 16 weeks comes to an end on the 31st of July, 2020.  At that time, three thousand eight hundred and two (3,802) applicants will receive their last payment.  This number consists of:

  • two thousand eight hundred and seventy (2,870) Bermudians;
  • one hundred seventy two (172) Spouses of Bermudians;
  • fifty (50) Permanent Resident Certificate Holders; and
  • seven hundred (700) Work Permit Holders.

This will leave one thousand five hundred and fifty-five (1,555) individuals continuing to receive payments until their sixteen week period ends.

With the end of the Unemployment Benefit, there remain many in our community who are not yet on their feet and still require financial aid to provide the necessities of life such as food shelter and clothing.   To address this, those individuals who have completed the Unemployment Benefit and are still in need of financial aid will need to first apply for financial assistance through the Department of Financial Assistance.

It should be noted at this time that the Government plans to extend the unemployment benefit for an additional two weeks to allow persons the opportunity to transition to the new benefit.

From Monday, 27, July 2020, Financial Assistance applications may be collected from the Lobby of Global House, 43 Church Street, Hamilton. Should you be unable to collect an application, you must contact the Department to make alternative arrangements. For additional information, persons can call the Department of Financial Assistance Hotline at: 297 7867.

When filling out the application form, please note that the form 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 in Global House.

The Financial Assistance process is rigorous and applications will be vetted and applicants will be notified accordingly.  Should your application for financial assistance be approved, you will begin receiving the approved monthly award payments.

For persons who are not eligible for Financial Assistance, the Government wishes to advise that it will introduce a supplemental unemployment assistance.  The Government will provide further details about the nature of this financial support in coming public announcements.   However, eligibility for this support will likely be as follows.  You must:

  • Be Bermudian or Spouse of Bermudian;
  • Be a recent recipient of the Unemployment Benefit Fund;
  • Have fully completed the Financial Assistance application process; and
  • Other criteria that will be shared in due course.

Persons who receive such a benefit must immediately notify Government when they commence any form of employment as they will no longer be eligible.  It must be stated, that the aid given is only a temporary measure to help persons through this difficult time.

Workforce Department Update

The Department of Workforce Development, provides assistance to individuals who are seeking employment by providing them with work readiness training, career guidance, scholarships and bursaries for retraining, and apprenticeship opportunities.  Due to the COVID-19 safety measures taken by the government, the Department had reduced its traditional activities to administer the Unemployment Benefit.

As we continue with Phase 4, the department has recommenced with various services.   Services and programmes included the delivery of the Summer Internship Programme (SIP) for fifty (50) High School students who received up to a stipend of $1,600 at the end of the four week programme.

Also ongoing is the ten-week Summer Employment Programme for college and university students which also provides work experience and a weekly wage of $600.  The programme has seventy-five (75) interns enrolled in it and lasts for a period of ten (10) weeks.

Job Readiness

In the area of Career Development, where officers engage with members on the public to provide job readiness support, the Department has begun meeting with clients virtually.  Clients are also seen in-office where necessary to assist with updating resumes and work with employers to ensure unemployed persons are considered for job vacancies.

Training Programs

In the Training Section of the Department, discussions have resumed with external stakeholders such as employers, industry associations and other industry educational partners, regarding existing and new training programmes.  The objective is to gauge the level of training, qualifications, and employment opportunities available to Bermudians.  Training Officers are obtaining feedback on recommended short and long term programmes and services that need to be provided in the Post-COVID-19 era in Bermuda.

Scholarship Awards

Additionally, the department has collaborated with the National Training Board Scholarship Committee to offer ten (10) scholarships in 2020 for students studying in the areas of:

  1. Hospitality;
  2. Information Technology;
  3. Healthcare;
  4. Vocational; and
  5.  Technical trades.

The scholarship awards are expected to be announced in the next month.

Training Scheme

The Department continues to work with the Office of the Tax Commissioner to offer the payroll tax exemption scheme, which provides relief for employers who are committed to training Bermudians.  To date, a total of eleven (11) companies and twenty-three (23) Bermudians have been awarded approval for training.

The Department is now implementing its strategic two-phase plan. The first phase aims to target industry sectors where there may be a reduction in work permit renewals, to identify opportunities to get Bermudians employed.

The second phase focuses on developing a talent pipeline for Bermuda by:

  1. anticipating the future needs of the various industry sectors;
  2. work collaboratively with industry partners to design and develop training programs and apprenticeships;
  3. provide the funding in the form of scholarships and assistance to those individuals seeking further education to enable Bermudians to have the skills to compete.

Ultimately, the plans focus on what is needed in this new era of COVID-19 to get Bermudians employed.

Also under the Training Section, the Department offers National Certifications, in four (4) designated occupations:

  1. Welding;
  2. Electrical;
  3. Automotive Service Technician; and
  4. Landscape Gardening.

The objective is to have all registered tradesmen in the four (4) designated occupations obtain National Certification.

Digital Nomads & Students

With that said, the Government recognizes the challenge with securing employment and we are working on quick wins that will help stimulate our economy and get our residents back to work.

To that end, it has long been recognized that there are persons who are location-independent, using technology to perform their job no matter where they are.  Such persons work remotely, telecommuting rather than being physically present at a company’s headquarters or office. Remote working has been a growing trend for some time and is something the Bermuda Government has been examining as part of its technology-focused economic diversification strategy.

There are also many students in tertiary education across the world completing their classes online. By allowing Non-Bermudian Post-Secondary Students to complete their higher education from Bermuda represents an opportunity to build an international student community in Bermuda and enhance Bermuda’s digital perception by travelers worldwide, which will produce benefits to the local economy.

It must be noted that these trends have been further accelerated by COVID-19.

And so allowing these visitors to reside in Bermuda without seeking employment on the island will promote economic activity for our country without displacing Bermudians in the workforce.

To capitalize on this opportunity, starting August 1, 2020, the Ministry of Labour through the Department of Immigration will offer One Year Residential Certificates to allow persons such as Digital Nomads the ability to reside in Bermuda while working remotely, and Non-Bermudian Post-Secondary Students the ability to complete their higher education from Bermuda.

The Ministry will also adjust its policy for visitors to the island by extending the maximum period a visitor may stay in Bermuda from 90 to 180 days.

I am confident that these policy changes will strengthen our economy by:

  • increasing the residential population;
  • increasing economic activity;
  • providing greater job security for Bermudians; and
  • enhancing Bermuda’s image as a place to reside, visit, and do business.

All relevant documentation can be submitted along with the electronic submission form which will be available via the government portal on or before August 1, 2020.

Thank you.

Thank you Minister Hayward.

Last week, during the swearing in ceremony of Ministers Ming and Tyrrell, I indicated the responsibility for tourism would move to the Office of the Premier and has been added to my existing responsibility for economic development. I must restate, the need for the growth of tourism is more complex than ever and demands a renewed focus on the economic potential it represents for Bermuda. Bermuda, as a tourism destination, must become relevant again.

Next month commercial airlift capacity to the island more than doubles.  5,000 airline seats in July jumps to about 12,000 available seats in August.  On August 1, new direct service resumes on JetBlue from New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport and Boston’s Logan International Airport.

Meanwhile,

  • British Airways increases its frequency from London by one day which means there will be three flights a week;
  • Delta decreases it’s daily service by one day to six flights a week; and
  • Air Canada continues to operate its weekly flight out of Toronto.

Tourism volumes this August are projected to be about 10% of what they were last year.  The Bermuda Tourism Authority has been working on an inside-out marketing campaign to generate spending in the tourism industry from residents, while at the same time inspiring travellers to think about Bermuda and then turn that thought into action.

One such promotion is taking place now.  The Bermuda Independent Retailer Month, which began July 1, is promoting the Bermuda-inspired retail sector to consumers around the world via the BTA’s digital channels.  Last week, 27 local retailers who offer click and ship operations, were profiled on the BTA’s social media.

Earlier today, an e-mail marketing promotion reaching more than 250,000 customers led with a push to Bermuda retailers in a further drive to stimulate their retail sales.

Between now and the end of the year, there will be additional promotions to stimulate spending in various sectors of the tourism economy including boating, restaurants, spas and tennis.  Additionally the Bermuda Tourism Authority will commence the promotion of staycations here on island, where they will profile the deals that are available and the hotels which are currently offering rates for locals.

The BTA and the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA) have worked closely with the Minister of Labour, to get the message out about the one-year residency certificate, perfectly suited for remote workers, what I call digital nomads, and post-secondary students.

Minister Hayward announced the policy changes last week and gave some additional clarifications.  Since then, the BTA and BDA have worked to have the news story carried in key US media, starting with Bloomberg and then quickly spreading to others, including CBS news.

 

The form will go live on 1 August, the BTA and BDA will continue to promote Bermuda as a location from which to work. This government’s view is that if you can work remotely, which many people have been doing, why not work from Bermuda for the next year.

As I had said in an interview with one of the news agencies, it might be nice to live in a place where you don’t have to get into a fight at the supermarket because someone is not wearing a mask, as we are happily a universal masking jurisdiction.

I will also give a brief update on international mail service which although does not fall under the Office of the Premier, falls under the Cabinet Office.

The Bermuda Post Office reports with the increase in flights to and from the UK, mail, parcels and EMS are being sent to the UK, starting with this evening’s flight. Likewise, we started to receive mail from the UK on July 17.

There is still no mail between Bermuda and the US and at this point in time, we are not expecting mail to be transported until mid-September when American Airlines starts flying between Bermuda and New York and Bermuda and Miami.

However the Bermuda Post Office continues to explore all avenues for mail delivery between the United States and Bermuda.

Mail from Canada will start arriving in August.

There is another update that I’d like to give, and I’d like to commend the Deputy Premier for working with the Department of Planning which is under his responsibility. Last year, there was a clear drive to make sure that we make government processes more efficient, and one of those places where it was felt that government processes were not efficient were inside of the Department of Planning.

The Deputy Premier will soon be announcing that during May and June, a total of 53 planning applications are received and 81 were approved, resulting in a total estimated construction value of $46 million, while a total of 154 building permit applications were received and 114 building permits were issued, resulting in a total estimated construction value of $68 million.

What is important is that the Department of Planning continued to work during the period of restrictions, and it is key to note that planning application times in the Department of Planning have now been cut in half. They’ve gone from ten weeks to four to five weeks. And this is something that will certainly aid us as we look to continue to stimulate our economy, as we move forward to get more and more persons back to work.

So thank you, Deputy Premier for your work and thank you to the team at the Department of Planning for executing the government’s policy of making government more efficient.

On Monday at 7:30pm, the Minister for Community Affairs and Sports, the Hon. Lovitta Foggo and I will participate in a Cup Match Conversation hosted by Sean Tucker, the New Voice of Summer. It will be aired on Government’s Facebook page and on CITV. Sean will interview current and past Cup Match players together with Captains and Club Presidents. You can send your questions for the guests to Government’s Facebook page.

Before I will end tonight’s press conference I would like to speak about a letter that was sent me earlier this week.

Dear Premier Burt,

I want to let you know that there are two heroes working at the COVID-19 hotline, their names are Shirmelle Gomes and Tamisha Archibald. They are the most incredibly helpful, kind, patient and lovely ladies working at the call center, who went above and beyond to assist me this weekend with getting a travel authorization updated in the system when a dear friend couldn’t get her COVID-19 negative test result in time for the BA flight on Friday.

These two ladies were so patient and helpful with getting the new arrival date updated in the system, I am so grateful for their help and I thought you should know what an incredible team you have working under you. 

Also, we think you and your team are simply AMAZING and you have done a remarkable job protecting our country, THANK YOU we love you!!! 

Shirmelle and Tamisha are both Government Public Officers who have been assigned to the Helpline. As always, I extend my sincere appreciation to all those persons who are working on the Helpline. That Helpline which continues to be manned and that number is 444 2498.

I also want to express my appreciation to the emergency and essential workers throughout our country. Those as we already mentioned that are involved in our testing, but also those that continue to serve our people at the hospital and our essential workers. Especially to our first responders who are firefighters.

Minister Ming and had an opportunity to meet with the new executive at the Fire Services Association today and I can say the entire country owes them a debt of gratitude. They have been working long hours and they are always the first ones on scene, to make sure that they save lives and keep us safe. So to all of the men and women that are working in the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service I want to say thank you from the Government of Bermuda. You are doing an excellent job and you are being represented incredibly well by your new executive.

Tomorrow the House of Assembly will meet, with 16 items up for debate in our last session before the Cup Match holiday. There are a number of items that are there to stimulate our tourism market with amendments to the Tourism Investment Act, and two Tourism Investment Orders. One for the St George’s Club property, which will enable that property to renovate, and to reopen. And also Rosewood Tucker’s Point to enable additional development which is taking place at that property.

There will also be a number of social issues and changes, which will be brought to the fore and passed, including the expungement  of cannabis convictions for simple possession of cannabis, the modification of our jury selection regime to make sure that it is more fair and also the addition of luring as an offense under the Criminal Code. Which completes a suite of amendments and changes that the Progressive Labor Party has made in the area of child sex abuse, and also to make sure that we have mandatory rehabilitation for sex offenders.

Persons are able to tune in on parliament.bm, listen on 105.1, or you can also catch the House of Assembly on bernews.com.

Though, we as a country has done well. It is vitally important to remember that this virus can still impact our lives. Though, as the Minister of Health says, we only have five active cases, and those we think that we have caught them at our borders, we must stick to Public Health guidance that we have been given over the last few months.

We cannot, and we must not lower our guard. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of continuing to wear your mask, especially when you are indoors and you are unable to social distance when you are outdoors.

This together with exercising proper hand hygiene and physical distancing will allow us to continue to enjoy the freedoms we do now, while countries and islands around us are going backwards. Let us keep it up to move forward.

Next week is Cup Match week, and therefore we will not be here next week Thursday. However, your government ministers will giving you a final briefing before the Cup Match holiday next week Tuesday.

Before I take questions, I’d like to thank the wonderful Miss Carolann Simmons for this beautiful red and blue mask when she is supplied to me, which I’m wearing even though I’m looking out into a sea of blue and blue mask everywhere. With that, I’m happy to take questions from members of the media.

Daily COVID-19 Update – July 21

Ministry of Health Press Release – July 21st, 2020

Today there were 518 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and none were positive for COVID-19.

Minister Wilson said, “Today I can also confirm that 7 of the 11 pending results are confirmed to not have been cases. Affected individuals have been informed and released from isolation and quarantine. Four possible cases remain under investigation. I have to applaud the Public Health Emergency Response Team at the Ministry of Health together with the Bermuda Hospitals Board, who took immediate action to identify and isolate all persons immediately as soon as the potential cases became known. Not only is our testing regime exceedingly rigorous, but our ability to rapidly take public health action to isolate cases and prevent spread truly showed its muster with this near-miss incident.

“I realize some persons may be wondering why these cases were held as pending for a few days. I can assure you that this is simply part of stringent protocols to control COVID-19. As part of routine quality control measures, results are considered in terms of the present medical history and epidemiological pattern and, if there is any doubt, we isolate and re-test. Our regime uses highly sensitive tests which can pick up transient positives in asymptomatic individuals. These may have a viral load that is sufficient to be detected but warrants further investigation. Upon the re-testing of these cases, originally flagged as positive, we were able to confirm that these persons were not active carriers of the virus.”

“I am pleased that all precautionary measures were taken swiftly. While I understand the distress this caused individuals who had to be isolated, it is better than the alternative – having potentially positive persons freely interacting with others inadvertently spreading COVID in the community. This incident is a testament to the rigour of our testing system and the efficiency of our public health capacity.”

Bermuda has 153 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  • there are 7 active cases, who are
  • all under active public health monitoring, and
  • none is hospitalized or in critical care;
  • a total of 137 have recovered,
  • the total deceased remains 9, and
  • 4 results are pending confirmation

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:

  • 49 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 below 1.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Travelers

We welcome visitors and returning residents to Bermuda.

Our island home has always been a precious resource set apart by its geographic location and way of life. Over the past few months, we’ve been dedicated to protecting our community and pristine destination for our residents and guests to enjoy for years to come. When you are ready, we look forward to extending a warm welcome.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bermuda Government has put in place traveller protocols, which include the requirement for both visitors and residents to apply for a Travel Authorization.

The Quarantine Authority (Minister of Health) of Bermuda, as per paragraph 6 of the Quarantine (COVID-19) (No.3) Order requires visitors to have a negative pre-departure test result to travel to Bermuda, taken no more than 7 days before departure. As of 11 July 2020 visitors without a negative pre-departure test result cannot obtain Travel Authorization. This applies to all visitors who have been in a country classified by the WHO as having community transmission of COVID-19 (this includes the US, UK and Canada).

Residents who do not wish to test when on the island, will quarantine in their room for 14 days and will be required to wear a quarantine bracelet to assist with monitoring. If at 14 days they wish to be tested and it is negative, they will no longer be quarantined. If on day 14 they do not wish to be tested, they will quarantine in their room for another 14 days, wearing the quarantine electronic bracelet.

Apply for the Bermuda Travel Authorization

I live in Bermuda as a citizen, PRC or work permit holder: 

Resident Travel Authorization

 

I am visiting on holiday or business:

Visitor Travel Authorization 

Frequently asked Questions

While the above protocols hopefully capture most of the information required, we always know there are specific circumstances that may arise.

We hope we have answered your questions in our Traveller Frequently Asked Questions

We have provided answers to the Travel Authorization Application process in our: Travel Authorization Technical Support FAQ’s.

 

Government Protocols for Travelers

Travelers are to comply with the following Bermuda Government protocols:

Pre-departure — A traveller (residents and visitors) must:

  • Complete the Bermuda Travel Authorization process online, which gathers important information for the island’s health and immigration officials; a $75 fee is required, which includes the cost of the PCR COVID-19 testing in Bermuda. For Technical Support, visit our Travel Authorization Application Technical Support FAQ’s or contact the COVID-19 Hotline on +1(441)444-2498 or email coronavirus@gov.bm.
  • NOTE: Children 9 and younger do not have to be tested at any point, so will be charged a reduced fee of $30 for their Travel Authorization. Children 10-17 must receive parental consent to be tested. If consent is denied, the young traveller must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
  • Visitors must take a certified PCR COVID-19 test, ideally within 72 hours of departure, but no more than seven days, and obtain a negative result. This applies to adults and children aged 10 and up. Children who are 9-years-old and younger are exempt and are subject to their adult travel companion’s quarantine.
  • Residents are not required to get a PCR COVID-19 test before traveling to Bermuda, but must quarantine for three days on arrival. As of Saturday, 25th July residents without a pre-departure PCR COVID-19 test will be required to quarantine for four (4) days.Residents include work permit holders.
  • Wear face masks when traveling to the departure airport.
  • Wear face masks and practice physical distancing at the departure airport.

Additionally, a pre-departure traveller (resident and visitor) should:

  • A visitor should acquire health insurance covering illness and injury outside of his/her home jurisdiction, including those related to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis while in Bermuda. If this is not obtained, a visitor will be responsible for all health and accommodation costs if treatment and/or quarantine is required; including costs related to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis while in Bermuda
  • Pack a thermometer

In Flight — During the flight, travelers (residents and visitors) must:

  • Wear a face mask while on the plane
  • Practice physical distancing to the greatest extent possible

Upon Arrival — Upon arrival, travelers (residents and visitors) must:

  • Show a copy of your Travel Authorization. If you do not have a printer, have ready a charged phone or tablet to show your Travel Authorization.
  • Visitors must present a copy of the pre-departure PCR COVID-19 negative test result to health officers on request.
  • All travelers (residents and visitors) will undergo PCR COVID-19 testing at the Bermuda L.F. Wade International Airport. Those with a pre-departure PCR COVID-19 test will quarantine at home or at their accommodation until results are ready (turnaround time between 6 to 8 hours in most cases, when arrival happens during the day, but can take longer).This applies to adults and children ages 10 and up. Children less than 10 years-old are exempt from the PCR COVID-19 test.
  • Residents who do not have a pre-departure negative PCR COVID-19 test result must quarantine for three days after arrival in your home or the room of your accommodation and must wear a quarantine electronic bracelet. You will be tested on day three and will be released from quarantine with a negative test result. As of Saturday, 25th July residents without a pre-departure PCR COVID-19 test will be required to quarantine for four (4) days. If you did take a PCR COVID-19 test before departure, and receive the results during your first three days in Bermuda (and they are negative), you will be released from quarantine. You will still have to test on day 8 and day 14.
  • Wear a face mask and practice physical distancing to the greatest extent possible

On-island Experience – When enjoying Bermuda, travelers (visitors and residents) must:

  • Practice physical distancing, good hygiene and mask wearing in all public spaces where there is close contact with others, including on all public transport (taxis, ferries and buses).
  • Monitor your health and take your temperature twice per day. Record your symptoms and temperature on the Symptoms and Temperature Log. If your temperature is over 100.4F or 38 C please contact the public health team on covid19surv@gov.bm
  • Residents without a pre-departure negative PCR Test result must test on day 3, on day 8 and again on day 14.
  • Travelers (visitors and residents) with a pre-departure negative PCR COVID-19 result must test on day four, day eight and on day 14. You can find information about testing locations here. Results of the PCR COVID-19 test will be emailed to you.

COVID-19 Positive Test Result

If a traveller (resident or visitor) becomes COVID-19 positive, is a close contact of a positive person, is symptomatic, or if a traveller is clinically diagnosed at any point, they will be subject to public-health (COVID-19) regulations and will be isolated at their accommodation for up to 14 days.

Daily COVID-19 Update – July 18

Ministry of Health Press Release – July 18th, 2020

Good Day Members of Media,

Between yesterday and today, the Ministry of Health received 1165 COVID-19 test results; out of the 1165 results received 1 was positive for COVID-19. The confirmed case was imported on the Delta flight 656  from Atlanta on 17 July. We are in the process of contact tracing for this case.

There are 11 test results are pending. These cases are being investigated further to ensure correct public health action is taken. Such situations do arise from time to time and the Ministry takes all precautions necessary to protect the public’s health. Out of an abundance of caution, the 11 individuals with pending results are being treated as potential cases and are isolated with public health supervision.

The Ministry’s COVID-19 case management team is conducting contact tracing in all instances as a preventive measure. Public health advice has been provided to potential close contacts, in order to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19; this includes the 14-day quarantine of persons identified as close contacts.

Bermuda now has 153 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

▪  there are 7 active cases, who are

▪  all are under active public health monitoring, and

▪  none are hospitalized or in critical care;

▪  a total of 137 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.

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:

▪  49 are Imported

▪  85 are Local transmission, with known contact

▪  18 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and

▪  1 is under investigation

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

Minister Wilson said, “I am sure every new case is disheartening news for all of us – not least for the individuals affected and their families and close contacts. Contact tracing begins immediately with every new or suspect case to assure everyone’s safety.”

Public health measures such as mask-wearing, hand hygiene, physical distancing as well as stringent cleaning and disinfection schedules all help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in public places and workplaces.

Employers are encouraged to implement their own return-to-work policies which may include a 14-day quarantine after travel and a return to work after the day-14 test result is negative. This is especially important in settings with vulnerable populations such as rest homes.

The Government would also like to take the opportunity to clarify speculation regarding People’s Pharmacy.

The Government does not identify any business or establishment unless there is a public health reason to do so.

However, there is speculation that the person who broke quarantine on Wednesday, that was mentioned at Thursday’s press conference, was an employee of People’s Pharmacy. That is not true and we would ask persons to refrain from damaging speculation.

The Government has effectively dealt with the threat of the Coronavirus pandemic by being extra cautious to ensure that we minimize the risk to the community.

What is most important is that all persons follow the public health guidelines which will ensure that we keep the virus at bay while we reopen our economy.

Government Weekly Press Conference July 16 2020

Bermuda Government COVID-19 Update July 16 2020

 

 

Good afternoon Bermuda.

I hope all of you are doing well and enjoying the blissful Bermuda Summer. This afternoon I am joined by the Minister of Health and the Minister of Public Works.

As a country we have, for the most part, followed the rules, behaved appropriately, and contributed to our success in battling this pandemic. We could not have made it this far without unity, hard work and dedication.

It has not been easy . . . sheltering in place, curbside shopping, grocery days by last name, curfews, social distancing, face coverings and economic hardship. This has taken a tremendous toll on all of us. But as I have said before, collectively as a country Bermuda rose to the occasion, and we have shown ourselves to be an example to the world of how to manage and live with this virus.

While most of us have done well, by following the guidelines – we must remember that it only takes 1 undetected case to set us back. So while we have earned the changes that will be announced today – we must remain ever vigilant.

We will begin with the latest update from Minister Wilson on COVID 19 testing.

MINISTER WILSON STATEMENT

Today there were 363 test results received by the Ministry of Health; and two were positive for COVID-19. Both new cases were imported on the Delta flight on 15th July by returning residents.

It saddens me terribly to have to tell you that, unfortunately, one of the persons involved did not adhere to the required quarantine period and attended their workplace before receiving their arrival test results, which turned out to be positive. Consequently, the case management team is now contact tracing all the persons they were in touch with on island, in addition to the nearby passengers on the flight.

The advice for other passengers on the Delta flight 656 of 15th July is to proceed with extreme caution, follow the quarantine instructions you were given on arrival, monitor your symptoms, wear a mask at all times and keep 6 feet away from others. If you were sitting near one of the positive cases a public health officer will be in touch with you soon with instructions.

Bermuda now has 152 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 137 have recovered, and
  • the total deceased remains 9.

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 60 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years.

Overall, 55% of all cases are Black, 41% are white and 4% are other or unknown.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

  • 48 are Imported
  • 85 are Local transmission, with known contact
  • 18 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  • 1 are under investigation

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

I now have a few updates to provide you with as it relates to arriving travellers…

As the volume of travellers increases our testing teams and capability is becoming increasingly stretched. Therefore we are reviewing the testing regime to make adjustments based on public health risk and testing capacity.

Incoming travellers are tested on arrival at their port of entry. They then have to comply with further tests on subsequent dates. One change we are implementing is that the day 3 test will be moved to day 4.

As such, persons who arrive on the BA flight on Friday will have their follow-up test on Monday. This will apply to all travellers, whether visitors or residents, except for residents who need to complete their quarantine; they will be allowed to test on day 3, which is Sunday, in order to complete their quarantine period on receipt of their negative result.

We hope this will have a two-fold benefit of encouraging residents to obtain a pre-departure test (although not required) and also make the testing schedule less arduous for our visitors.

Second, we are aware of the challenges for travellers obtaining test results within 5 days and so, will be extending the period permitted to 7 days very shortly. It will be reflected on the website when this goes into effect.

Lastly, we are gearing up to assist the quarantine process with the Aqua quarantine bracelets. Travellers without a pre-departure test – that is largely residents – have to quarantine until they get a second test result on Island (currently on their 3rd day). The intention is that they will be fitted with an aqua bracelet until they obtain a negative result.

In addition, persons who do not have a pre-departure test will be asked to undergo a saliva test on arrival in addition to the nasal swab in order to assist us in validating the saliva tests so that we can deploy them sooner. This applies to residents as ALL visitors must obtain a pre-departure test.

Additionally, the requirement to undergo a Day 7 test will change to Day 8. This is safe from a public health perspective and it will help ensure that testing sites are not swamped on certain days.

Residents who refuse all testing must quarantine for 14 days; and very shortly will do so with an Aqua bracelet.

Our goal is not to add layers of red tape and complexity to the lives of incoming travellers, but to protect us all from a COVID-19 outbreak. Our number 1 priority at all times is – and must be – the safety of our island and the protection of seniors and other clinically vulnerable persons for whom COVID is a life-threatening risk.

Independent of today’s new COVID cases, over the past few days, there have been several enquires made by companies from across various industries with regards to staff travelling overseas and then returning to work. The main question being: When can they safely return to work?

The answer to this depends on a number of factors. In particular, it depends on if your employee works in a high risk setting such as one with medically vulnerable individuals or institutionalized populations, such as a healthcare setting, for example…

If so, then those employees may want to consider avoiding non-essential travel. Of course, this is not always practical and, in those cases where workers have family overseas, an ability to travel and see loved ones could have a detrimental effect on that individual’s mental health. In those cases, we have to ask ourselves ‘What is the safest way for these individuals to return to work after travel?’…

The gold standard is 14 days of quarantine with prescribed testing procedures to provide that extra layer of security. As a Manager, ask yourself, Could this employee work from home during these 14 days?

If they must return to work (with two consecutive negative test results), determine how they can minimize their contact with others as much as possible. Each employer must decide what this looks like for their employees. However, the Ministry of Health is currently in the process of developing further guidance on this issue, which will be disturbed shortly and posted to the Government website.

In closing, 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…And, yes, this means wearing masks at work if you are in close contact with others, such as during face-to-face meetings.

As I have mentioned before, there are three preventative behaviours which HealthIQ looks at to assess how we are doing as a country in our response to COVID-19. Two of those three (mask wearing and physical distancing) are currently ‘in the red’…which means we need to do better if we want to keep ourselves and our community safe.

I think when COVID-19 first arrived in Bermuda, there were those out there who doubted the difference these seemingly ‘small’ measures could make to the overall picture…But now I think we can all see that they were, in fact, KEY to our success; not just contributory factors.

On a positive note, today we passed 10,000 HealthIQ users so we have reached the target to put that indicator on our scorecard in the green. Please continue to sign up on HealthIQ.bm and report your status regularly.

Today’s two new cases and the quarantine breach are a reminder to us all that we cannot be complacent. How we go forward now depends on you, Bermuda.

Thank You

Thank you Minister and thank you for the hard work that your team continues to put in.

It is important to note that out of the 6 imported cases that have arrived in the last 2 weeks since we have opened the airport all of them have been returning residents.

The story just shared by the Minister of Health is disturbing – as it means that our own don’t care about the impact that their reckless actions may have on ALL of our hard work over the past 4 months. We have been successful because we have not been selfish and have thought of the collective over our own needs. That must continue.

As the Minister of Health has indicated, the matter has been reported to the Bermuda Police Service for the violations of law. No one wants to punish anyone, but the rules in place must be followed for the safety of our country and for our economy.

As I have intimated, and as the Minister of Health has also said, due to the fact that we have been faced with returning residents not following the rules, the cabinet will consider revisions to requirements for residents returning to the country and may introduce quarantine requirements for returning residents who do not possess a valid pre-test. We must keep our country safe – and if we do not hear that sadly we may all have to feel.

Traveling to the United States is something that, given the situation over there, should not be done for pleasure, but should only be done in urgent situations. We will be revising the guidance to make sure that we minimize the amounts of imported cases which may be coming from returning residents. As the Minister said, the introduction of quarantine bracelets for persons who do not have valid pre-test to ensure that we can enforce the quarantine.

What I must say, is that is a responsibility of all of us Bermudians to do our job to protect our country. Visitors are coming in, and are following the rules, it is us that are breaking them and putting our country at risk.

I will now turn the mic over to Minister Burch who will provide the latest update on regulations and changes to restrictions, most notably the time when the curfew will come to an end.

MINISTER BURCH STATEMENT

Good evening.

I am happy to provide a further update on additional changes since the implementation of Phase 4 on Wednesday July 1st.  I will first cover those matters that fall under the Covid Regulations followed by those that fall under the remit of the Minister of Public Works.

There has been some confusion surrounding a number of issues during this journey through Covid – so I will attempt to address several of them tonight.

Firstly, consideration will be given to the following changes to the current PUBLIC HEALTH (COVID-19 EMERGENCY POWERS) REGULATIONS 2020.  The term Exceptional Circumstances is confusing and as we move further into Phase 4, the removal of this part makes it easier to vet applications as per the guidelines being developed. These guidelines along with the standardized application form will lay out what is needed to be considered for an exemption, thus removing the need for this part of the clause to remain.

(4) The Minister of National Security may, after consulting, the Minister of Health, grant an exemption (a “large group exemption”) permitting a group of more than 50 persons to assemble—

There have been a number of requests to hold functions with more than 50 persons and the term “exceptional” has led to confusion from the public and an inability to adequately consider those requests by the committee. I expect we will be in a position to confirm this change, publish the guidelines and launch the online application by next Tuesday – which will provide greater clarity to the general public.

With regard to the current curfew – as indicated last week that it would be reviewed weekly – the curfew will be lifted effective next Monday, July 20th with the proviso that all liquor licensed establishments will close at midnight.  This aspect of the new regulations will be reviewed weekly.

Clarification on the wearing of masks:

Masks must be worn indoors.   Masks must be worn outdoors if physical         distancing cannot be maintained.

Clearly there is a need to apply common sense – if one is driving in a car alone or with members of their household, riding a bike, walking alone – it is not necessary to wear a mask.

Simply put – if you are in close proximity to anyone outside your family – then a mask is required.  Many stores and businesses – like government buildings – now require a mask to enter their facility.

With regard to activities over Cup Match – overnight camping in Parks and on Islands will be allowed following the removal of curfew as well as over the Cup Match weekend.

All of the camp sites are being inspected over the next few days and applications for camping permits will be accepted from Monday, July 20th.

Specifically, for Cup Match campers and picnickers will be allowed to erect camping and picnicking equipment and property on Tuesday, 28th July however camping is ONLY permitted from Wednesday 29th July until Monday 3rd August 2020 as per the Public Health (Covid-19 Emergency Powers) Amendment Regulations 2020.

Gates will be opened on Tuesday 28th July 2020 so patrons will have the opportunity to get their equipment and property into the parks and beaches until 9:30pm on Wednesday 29th July 2020 after which time Park Ranger staff on duty will be locking the gates.

All equipment and property must be removed by Tuesday 4th August 2020 or it will be deemed abandoned and disposed of.

Maintenance staff will be collecting trash and cleaning bathrooms during the Cup Match Holiday and weekend.

Park Ranger staff will patrol the parks and beaches, enforcing the  Park Regulations and addressing any other incidents in conjunction with the Bermuda Police Service and the Royal Bermuda Regiment.

Staff will be assigned to control traffic flow and parking at the following locations:

  • Horseshoe Bay
  • Warwick Long Bay West
  • Elbow Beach Tribe Road 4B
  • Clearwater Beach Park and Coopers Island Park & Nature Reserve.

Horseshoe Bay, due to the popularity on Emancipation Day Thursday 30th July 2020 will be managed as follows:

  • Department of Parks staff in conjunction with officers of the Bermuda Police Service, Royal Bermuda Regiment and St. Johns Ambulance will be on duty.
  • Traffic flow and parking will be controlled and once the parking lot is full access will be for dropping off only until spaces open up.
  • There may be times when the parking lot is closed to all traffic in order to clear any congestion.
  • Patrons are advised that the closure of Horseshoe Bay will be at 8:00 pm when patrons must start clearing the beach in order for the cleaning to begin for the use on Mary Prince Day Friday 31st July 2020.

Park and beach users are reminded not to park on double yellow lines or block the gates as they must remain clear at all times for access by Department of Parks maintenance & patrol vehicles, as well as emergency vehicles from the Bermuda Police Service, Royal Bermuda Regiment,  Bermuda Fire & Rescue Services, EMH and St. John Ambulance.

For safety the following will not be permitted:

  • No Bonfires especially within Coopers Island Nature Reserve
  • No excessively loud music playing
  • No Dogs on the beaches
  • No Horses on the beaches
  • No vehicles inside the parks after the gates are closed
  • Clean up your trash – leave the areas as you find them.

Vehicular traffic to Coney Island Park is restricted due to the structural integrity of the Bailey bridge and patrons must walk in.

The cooperation of the patrons using the parks and beaches over the holiday period is appreciated.

All of these measures are being relaxed because of our good behavior and following of the rules.  We are still in a pandemic but we also recognize that we must gradually relax the rules.

It is vitally important that in considering our actions going forward that we all must be cognizant and careful to make decisions that do not put our families and fellow citizens at risk regarding the corona virus.  Make no mistake that if we act badly then there will be no hesitation in recommending to the Cabinet that we return to an earlier phase to protect our country.

I expect we will be as responsible as we have been which has gotten us to our current state of general compliance.

Thank you, Premier.

Thank you Col.

The ending of the curfew represents not just a major landmark in the reopening of our economy, but it also will create more opportunities for employment.

Pre-COVID-19, few Bermudians under 50 had ever experienced a curfew and we had long taken for granted the freedom to move about the country when we want, and how we want. This is something that many of us will welcome but it must not be taken as a license to lose our minds. Simply put, DON’T TEAR IT! We have come too far to go back now!

Earlier today, I had the pleasure to announce two new appointments to the Cabinet. I would like to thank MP Renee Ming for accepting the role of Minister of National Security and thank MP Neville Tyrrell for taking on the role of Transport.

Over the years they have demonstrated the commitment, dedication and wisdom that will hold them in good stead as they take over two high profile and key Ministries. I’d like to again thank the former Ministers Wayne Caines and Zane Desilva for the excellent place they left their former Ministries enabling their successors to hit the ground running.

Tomorrow the House of Assembly will meet and we will be debating the following Bills:

  • Amendments to the Parliamentary Elections Act 2020
  • Riddell’s Bay (Warwick Parish) Special Development Order
  • Amendments to the National Pensions Scheme (Occupational Pensions) and Related Regulations
  • Registrar of Companies (Supervision and Regulation) Act 2020
  • Ministers and Members of the Legislature (Salaries and Pensions) Amendment Act 2020
  • Public Service Superannuation Temporary Amendment Act 2020

We will also be tabling:

  • Trusts Special Provisions #2 Act 2020
  • Gaming (Transfer of Functions) Bill
  • Government Loans Amendment (#2) Act
  • Amendments to the Tourism Investment Act 2017
  • Tourism Investment (St. George’s Club) 2020

Over the next 2 weeks over 11 Bills will be debated and passed into law with the support of Members of Parliament. This extensive work load speaks to the hard work and dedication of the Government team in continuing to deliver – and doing what is necessary to rebuild our economy; for the people of Bermuda.

Despite the restrictions and challenges posed by COVID-19, our government has remained active outside of the management of the pandemic and we remain focused on the job at hand. We work tirelessly to keep Bermuda safe, and we will work equally as hard to ensure a strong economic recovery.

One key goal our government has had throughout the pandemic has been to support local and international businesses and ensure our companies can continue to conduct their operations while fully adhering to safety protocols to meet the COVID- 19 regulations.

We were recently able to demonstrate our ability to drive a business-friendly environment despite the restrictions posed by the pandemic.

Key leaders of Athene, one of Bermuda’s largest reinsurance companies, needed to travel to Bermuda to conduct certain meetings. Together, the Bermuda Business Development Agency, the Bermuda Airport Authority, and the L.F. Wade International Airport worked to enable Athene to come to Bermuda and meet on the island in June, while ensuring full compliance with COVID-19 regulations.

The Bermuda Airport Authority, and Cedar Aviation implemented strict measures and protocols to ensure the meeting could take place safely and successfully.

Before the L.F. Wade International Airport openned to international flights on July 1, the Bermuda Government adapted swiftly and pragmatically to address the individual requirements of companies that required on-island meetings.

Athene sent us a statement of thanks from its President Bill Wheeler, which stated, “We are grateful for the support we received from the Bermuda Government, the BDA and local agencies. Bermuda’s swift action allowed us to conduct local business while prioritizing the health and safety of all those involved and ensuring full compliance with all Bermuda laws and regulations. Thank you to Bermuda’s continued exemplary business friendly approach – even during these unprecedented times.”

The Bermuda Government is grateful for the support and commitment of our local and international business partners who continue to work with us during this period of global economic challenge.

I would also, as I close, like to again thank everyone in Bermuda for your words of encouragement, your emails of support and your prayers for our health, our success and the well-being of our families. It remains an honor and a privilege to serve our country during this time, and we thank you for all that you have done over the past few months to make our burdens lighter and this work rewarding.

Thank you

August Flights: JetBlue, Air Canada, Delta, BA

Skyport released the flight schedule for August, with JetBlue, Air Canada, Delta Airlines, and British Airways all scheduled to serve Bermuda.

As compared to this month, August will see the addition of JetBlue from Boston and JFK, and an increased flight schedule from Canada and England.

According to the graphic from Skyport, the schedule for each airline follows below:

  • JetBlue Airways – Tuesdays & Saturdays only, effective August 1
  • Air Canada – Daily except Wednesdays
  • JetBlue Airways – Except Tuesdays & Thursdays, effective August 1
  • Delta Airlines – Daily
  • British Airways – Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays

See the flight schedule below:

 

 

August’s flight schedule

Daily COVID-19 Update- 15 July

Ministry of Health Press Release – July 15th, 2020

Good Day Members of the Media,

Today there were 284 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and none were positive for COVID-19.

Bermuda has 150 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  •   there are 4 active cases, who are
  •   all under active public health monitoring, and
  •   none is hospitalized or in critical care;
  •   a total of 137 have recovered, and
  •   the total deceased remains 9.

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 60 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:

  •   46 are Imported
  •   85 are Local transmission, with known contact
  •   18 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  •   1 is under investigation

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

Daily COVID-19 Update – 13 July

Ministry of Health Press Release – July 13 2020

Good Day Members of the Media,

Today there were 498 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and none were positive for COVID-19.

Bermuda has 150 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  •   there are 4 active cases, who are
  •   all under active public health monitoring, and
  •   none is hospitalized or in critical care;
  •   a total of 137 have recovered, and
  •   the total deceased remains 9.

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 60 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:

  •   46 are Imported
  •   85 are Local transmission, with known contact
  •   17 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  •   2 are under investigation

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