David Burt on April 8
Seven hundred could die, warns Burt
Bermuda could suffer as many as 700 Covid-19 deaths it was warned last night as the country recorded its third fatality from the disease.
David Burt, the Premier, revealed the grim projection after he announced an 80-year-old man had died in hospital from Covid-19 and that a Bermudian woman had succumbed to the disease in Panama.
Mr Burt said the latest prediction “indicates very plainly and simply that if we do not follow the rules which are in place now, or the rules that will be necessary in the future, the estimation is that more than 700 Bermudians die from this virus.”
He emphasised: “This is not an error. I am not saying this to scare anyone. These are the facts, and we have seen this take place around the world.”
He added: “In Bermuda, we have acted early. However, if we are not taking this seriously, more Bermudians will die.
“This is a worst-case scenario, however, it is also a reminder of how important it is to follow the rules and follow the regulations that have been laid out.”
Mr Burt said the island had a large number of older people and risk factors that could lead to death were “very present”.
He added: “It’s important for people to realise how bad it can be if we do not do what is necessary and required.
“This is not a joke. This is not the flu. This is something that is certainly more contagious and something that if left unchecked can have serious consequences.”
Mr Burt said the latest person to die had been under treatment at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the transmission source had not been identified.
He added: “This is tragic for any family going through this and I ask for the community’s compassion in allowing the family time and space to grieve privately.”
Mr Burt said that the Ministry of Tourism and Transport had been in contact with the family of the woman who died in Panama to assist with the repatriation of her remains.
He added that the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Bermuda remained at 39 after 25 test results came back clear.
Mr Burt said that more results were expected today — and it was expected the number of cases would increase.
He added that permitted businesses would be allowed to open on Good Friday — but that many had opted to close for the holiday.
Kim Wilson, the health minister, said the epidemiological model highlighted by Mr Burt was based on one drawn up by Public Health England and Imperial College, London, and a Bermudianised version would be publicised when completed.
She added: “In the absence of any mitigating factors, such as what we are doing now, what we will see based on the modelling is a surge, a spike in the amount of people who test positive for Covid-19 and, more importantly, those who need hospitalisation.
Ms Wilson said the Government’s state-of-emergency measures were designed to prevent a surge that would “overwhelm the healthcare system and cause more deaths”.
Wayne Caines, the national security minister added that police officers and Royal Bermuda Regiment troops had pulled over almost 4,000 road users at 25 checkpoints across the island.
Police have also started to patrol the Railway Trail to ensure that it is kept clear.
Mr Caines said new precautions had been introduced at the island’s prisons to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Visits have been suspended, along with some classes for inmates, and civilian staff have started to work on a remote basis.
The minister said that anyone who needed to deliver items such as toiletries, medication and food to people in the government quarantine centre could drop off care packages between 1pm and 5pm today.
The packages should be labelled with the recipient’s name and room number.
Mr Caines said: “Those persons who have family or friends currently in a government managed quarantine facility will be allowed to drop an essential care package at the specific location today and tomorrow.
“Next week the essential care package drop-off schedule will be Tuesday and Friday.”
• To read David Burt’s statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”
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