One of two quarantine breach cases closed

  • Continue to be stewards of public health: Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health

    Continue to be stewards of public health: Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health

Enforcement action could be taken if Covid-19 rules are broken, the Ministry of Health reminded residents.

A spokeswoman added that investigations into two quarantine breaches last month were handed over to police, although one has since closed.

She said last week: “The Government will continue to monitor compliance and will apply the appropriate enforcement measures in every case.

“We wish to remind the public not to be complacent. Please call 211 to report any breaches.

“Our testing system is serving us well in arresting importation, but it is not perfect — there can be breaches.

“We ask all residents to continue to be stewards of public health by following all recommended public health measures.”

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said at a press conference on July 2 that she was “greatly” disappointed to learn that at least one passenger “took it upon themselves to breach the obligatory quarantine and visited a local restaurant”, after the traveller arrived on an Air Canada service from Toronto that day.

It was the first scheduled commercial flight for more than three months after airport operations were restricted on March 20 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Wilson added then: “Luckily the individuals were identified and public health and enforcement officials are pursuing the matter now.”

Two weeks later the minister said that two cases of the coronavirus were identified in returning residents who arrived on a Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta on July 15.

She added: “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 ministry spokeswoman explained last week that case management workers looked into both incidents and that the two investigations were transferred to the Bermuda Police Service.

She added on Monday: “The first case was progressed to BPS but has now been closed. In the second case we are co-operating with the police to aid in their investigation.”

A BPS spokesman said yesterday that inquiries continued.

The health minister explained on July 28 that quarantine breaches were dealt with “on a case-by-case basis”.

Ms Wilson added then that “one individual was a minor that had attended a restaurant”.

She said that incidents would be handled “with the severity warranted, depending on the case”.

A Ministry of Health spokeswoman said yesterday that in relation to the July 2 case: “The parent was warned about the breach and the requirements under the law.”

She explained that a decision was made by health teams not to take legal action.

The spokeswoman confirmed that the most recent cases did not include local transmission and that all positive coronavirus test results since July 1, 2020, related to people who arrived from overseas.

The Quarantine (Covid-19) (No. 3) Order 2020, which took effect on July 1, said that travellers with a negative pre-departure PCR test who took a coronavirus test on arrival must quarantine at their home or accommodation. The quarantine period ended if their arrival test returned a negative result.

The rules said that anyone without a pre-departure test would be tested when they landed and on the third day after their arrival.

In those circumstances, the quarantine ended upon receipt of a negative test result no earlier than three days after arrival in Bermuda.

The latest rules on the government website showed that residents without a pre-departure test are required to quarantine until a negative test on Day 4 of their return.

People who test positive at any time must isolate for 14 days.

Ms Wilson this week praised the “responsible behaviour” of a resident who self-quarantined after a negative coronavirus test result when they arrived from Atlanta on August 3 until their next test, which was taken on August 8 and returned a positive result.

She added on Monday: “This is a poignant reminder of why it is so important for residents, who return from travel to quarantine appropriately, if they have not obtained a pretest before boarding a flight back to Bermuda.”

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Published Aug 12, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 12, 2020 at 8:05 am)

One of two quarantine breach cases closed

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