Positive Covid-19 tests rise to six

  • Challenging times: David Burt, the Premier, said the public must now make a genuine effort of social-distancing (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Bermuda now has six cases of Covid-19 and more positive test results are expected in the days ahead, the Premier said last night.

David Burt added four new cases had been detected on top of two earlier ones.

Mr Burt said that none of the six people who tested positive for the coronavirus had needed hospitalisation.

He said that of the new cases, one was “a close family contact” of a passenger on the March 8 British Airways flight and one arrived on the BA flight on March 17.

Mr Burt added “two people arrived in Bermuda by private jet” and developed the illness.

He said that the self-monitoring period for passengers on the March 8 flight ended yesterday and that the self-monitoring period for people on the March 17 flight would end on March 31.

He added: “If you have not been unwell during this period, there is nothing else for you to do.”

Mr Burt said that anyone who was on either flight who had felt unwell should contact their doctor and tell them which flight they were on.

The Premier said that on-island testing for Covid-19 was a “critical piece” in Bermuda’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

He predicted that there would more positive test results.

Mr Burt added: “The more we test, the more we know.

“The issue is not whether or not there are more positive results, this issue is how do we handle those.”

Mr Burt said that healthcare workers had started “aggressive testing” for the virus and 96 tests could be carried out every day.

He added: “So far, we have tested 41 people locally.”

The Premier said that 11 test were done on Friday, one of which had come back positive.

A total of 17 tests were done on Saturday and 13 yesterday.

Mr Burt said the results should be in by tomorrow.

He added he was “confident” that the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital could handle demand created by the virus.

Mr Burt said the public must also launch an effort to social-distance to prevent spread of the virus and that police and the Royal Bermuda Regiment would be “actively monitoring” people who had arrived in Bermuda since March 17 and were on self-quarantine.

The Premier said the earlier closure order would be extended to include all retail stores, cinemas and bars from 5pm today.

He added that restaurants would be limited to take-out service.

Gatherings will also be limited to no more than ten people — down from the original figure of 50.

Mr Burt said that only “essential businesses” would be allowed to operate and with reduced hours.

These include banks, food suppliers, supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations.

He added that the Cabinet had also approved an unemployment benefits package to be provided to people who were out of work because of the pandemic.

Mr Burt said details of the scheme would be provided to the public today.

He emphasised: “The unemployment benefit will for eligible employees not on financial assistance and will provide the payment of 60 per cent of gross earnings up to a maximum of $500 per week.”

Mr Burt said that the Bermuda Hotel Association had said that 1,400 workers were laid off after hotels closed their doors.

He added: “Those hotel workers will receive their funds so that they can continue to live life during this very difficult time.”

Mr Burt said public schools would launch a “remote-learning strategy in the upcoming week”.

He added that, although school buildings were closed to pupils, teachers and other staff still could still work from their schools if they practised social-distancing.

Mr Burt said it was everyone’s responsibility to minimise the spread of the virus.

He added: “That means following self-quarantine, staying home when you are sick, maintaining good hygiene and, most of all making sure that you contact your doctor if you are feeling symptoms.”

Mr Burt said that the Government’s top priority was public safety.

He added: “The best way for that to happen is for persons to follow the rules.”

To read David Burt’s comments in full, and for an update on Government operations provided last night, click on the PDF under “Related Media”