Burt imposes overnight curfew
A countrywide curfew from 8pm to 6am will be imposed from tomorrow, the Premier announced last night.
David Burt added it would be a “rolling curfew”, which can be imposed for up to three days at a time.
Curfew breakers will face up to six months in jail, a fine of $2,880 or both, but Mr Burt said that anyone en route to the hospital or for medical treatment would be “fine”.
Mr Burt announced the new restriction after he revealed that two more people had tested positive for Covid-19, which brought the total number of cases to 17.
Mr Burt said that one of the new cases arrived on Delta Air Lines flight 656 from Atlanta on March 15.
The source for the second case is still being investigated.
Mr Burt said that emergency and uniformed services would also be exempted from the curfew.
He added: “I know these changes will be an adjustment to how we live and work, but we only need to look across the water to see how important it is that we act, and act now, to save lives in this country.”
He said that during non-curfew hours people should “stay off the roads and at home” except for essential trips for food and medicine.
Mr Burt said that all rest home visits were suspended, except where approved by the homes involved.
Hospital visits have also been suspended, unless permitted by the hospitals board.
Mr Burt added that essential services would operate with “skeleton crews” and that recommended social-distancing had been upped to six feet from three feet.
Mr Burt said that 400 more test kits were to be shipped from the United States on Monday and “should” arrive by Tuesday.
Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, added that the Government was exploring “a number of avenues” to get more testing equipment.
She said: “Notwithstanding that we’re getting these 400, we’ve already requested more, and we’re going to continue to do that.
“This by no means will be the end of the tests that we receive.”
Mr Burt said that “numerous promises” had been made by Public Health England to provide protective equipment for medical staff and test kits.
However, he added: “There has been nothing that has resulted from those particular pledges.
“We wait to see what assistance they may render at some point in time.”
Mr Burt said that additional protective equipment was due to arrive from China on April 2.
He added that regulations to force businesses to allow employees to work from home if possible would take effect on Tuesday.
Mr Burt said the Government would also introduce an anonymous online route for people pressured to go into their jobs instead of working from home.
He added that staff at the Department of Immigration were not at work and that no applications were being taken or processed.
Mr Burt said: “Visitors who require an extension of stay in Bermuda will not be penalised for overstaying.”
He added that more instructions for people who needed to apply for an extension of stay would be given when the office reopened.
He added that the Hamilton docks are operating as normal.
Mr Burt said that cargo jet arrivals would decrease from five days a week to three days a week from March 30.
He added that courier firm DHL would operate two extra flights “which means that Bermuda will still have five days a week of air cargo service”.
The Department of Public Transportation will provide daily transport for hospital staff, enough to cover five shifts, while buses and ferry services remain offline.
The DPT service for hospital staff will start tomorrow and last until normal transport services are resumed.
Mr Burt said that about 1,100 applications had been received for unemployment assistance by noon yesterday and that approved applications would be processed for payment from next week.
He emphasised that the Government would not shut down “anything” without notice, after a hoax voice message about supermarket closures was posted on social media yesterday.
Mr Burt said: “The Government of Bermuda is not going to take actions which are going to cause members of our community to starve.”
He added the public should follow updates on the Government website and ignore dubious online messages.
Mr Burt said that Bermuda’s battle against Covid-19 was “a marathon, not a sprint”.
He added: “I think some people have this impression that we can shut everything down in the country down for three weeks and we will be fine.”
However. he warned: “This is something that is going to adjust the way of our lives.”
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