Premier live from Cabinet

  • David Burt, the Premier

The following is the full text of the national address that David Burt, the Premier, deliver from Cabinet tonight.

Following the announcement I made earlier this evening of two confirmed cases of imported Covid-19 to Bermuda, the Covid-19 EMO was embodied at 7pm and the following decisions were made:

• The LF Wade International Airport will close for incoming passenger flights on Friday, March 20 at 11.59pm for the next two weeks

• Non-residents will not be landed on the island from tomorrow

• Only returning residents will be allowed on flights to Bermuda between tomorrow morning and Friday night

• Cargo flights will not be affected

• The seaport is closed to visiting vessels, but essential cargo operations bringing food, medicine, medical supplies and other essential goods will still continue to arrive in Bermuda

• Schools will be closed from tomorrow until April 6. All principals, teachers and staff should report to school tomorrow morning to finalise transition plans for remote learning for students

• Bermuda College will not have classes tomorrow or Friday, but classes will resume on Monday using the online environment. All Bermuda College employees are asked to report to work tomorrow

• The following Legal Affairs departments: National Drug Control, and Child and Family Services, residential treatment services will remain in operation

• All other departments in the Department of Legal Affairs will have reduced operations

• The public bus and ferry services are suspended until April 6

• Government workers who are not directly involved with the Covid-19 management and operation will work from home until April 6

• Managers will provide guidance to all public officers throughout the course of the day tomorrow

• Private businesses are encouraged to ask their employees to work from home, if possible. Otherwise work schedules should be staggered to minimise the number of people in the workplace

• The Royal Bermuda Regiment has been embodied to provide support to emergency personnel. His Excellency the Governor will be issuing the embodiment order this evening

• Bars, restaurants, and other social establishments are strongly urged to scale down their operations from tonight and enforce social-distancing

• Essential retail outlets will continue to operate, such as food and medicines, and there will be specific guidance issued to all retail establishments tomorrow following the Covid-19 EMO meeting

These actions are drastic, but we are taking them in order to confirm that there is not community spread of Covid-19 in Bermuda. Bermuda will be impacted financially and socially, however, the health and welfare of our people is the most important consideration.

Given that we will have the ability to screen for Covid-19 on island starting on Friday, we will be able to quickly assess the risk and ensure that we contain this virus.

There are many questions in the community about the flights the two individuals who were confirmed with Covid-19 travelled on.

The two individuals who have confirmed positive for Covid-19 were on American Airlines Flight 308 on March 4 and the British Airways flight 2233 on March 6.

If you were travelling on either of those flights here is what you should know.

For those of you who were on the March 4 flight, your self-monitoring period ends today. If you were on the flight on the March 6, your self-monitoring period ends in two days on March 20. If you have not been unwell during this period, there is nothing else for you to do.

If you have respiratory symptoms, contact your doctor. Explain that you were on one of those flights and you want medical guidance. Do not go to your doctor’s office or the hospital. Please call ahead.

A 12-hour, Covid-19 helpline has been established to provide support to those who may have concerns and questions about the disease. The phone number is 444 2498. Anyone is able to call if they have questions or concerns. The helpline will be operational tomorrow from 9am until 9pm.

This is a time for us to show our strength as a community. This is a time for us to do what we must to protect our country. This is a time for us to show responsibility by following the stringent self-quarantine measures, which are put in place to protect us all.

We have seen what has happened around the world with this virus, and we must all work together to prevent that from happening here in Bermuda. Rest assured, your government is working around the clock and, together, if every Bermudian resident does their part, Bermuda will come through successfully, I have no doubt.

Thank you.