Diallo Rabain August 13
Tech firm sold on pandemic visa
A New York technology firm is poised to move its top management to the island on the basis of “aggressive selling” online of Bermuda’s success in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, David Burt revealed last night.
The Premier said Bermuda had won out ahead of other islands, but emphasised that “the only way we will be successful is by telling people the Bermuda story and how well we have worked in this pandemic” and “leverage our pandemic management”.
Mr Burt added that the island’s mistaken high-risk rating by the United States Centres for Disease Prevention and Control was expected to change next week.
He said that there had been 100 applications for the one-year residential certificate for remote workers.
Mr Burt added: “Where we are right now with our successful management of this virus, we have an opportunity.
“Bermuda is uniquely located as it is in close proximity to the major centres of the northeast, such as New York.”
New York has managed the crisis better than many other major population centres in the US, where the coronavirus is in some places a big problem.
But the city’s high population density and the risks posed by mass transit systems such as the subway are still a problem for businesses.
Mr Burt said: “A lot of offices have not opened up, and a lot of companies are remaining virtual.”
He did not identify the technology firm that approached the Cabinet over Cup Match, but said that after talks with the Bermuda Business Development Agency, the head of the business had agreed on Wednesday to come to Bermuda next month.
Mr Burt added the business leader was also “looking to relocate members of his staff here following a successful introduction”.
He said there were “many other engagements that are taking place just like that, because we have done a good job.”
Mr Burt added: “It is the responsibility of all of us to commit to selling our country and sharing our success on social media.”
He admitted that the departure of many foreign workers would have an economic impact.
But he added: “Some hoteliers are, for the first time, seeing new bookings outpacing cancellations.”
Mr Burt added: “This means we are turning the corner.”
Mr Burt said it had been a “defining moment” early in the Covid-19 pandemic when modelling suggested a worst-case scenario of 700 deaths.
He added: “We were told that we may lose hundreds of Bermudians and we were determined then and there that we would do all that we can to prevent that happening.”
Mr Burt highlighted the importance of wearing a mask if using public transport.
He added that good hand hygiene and social-distancing would help to reduce the risk of transmission after other countries were forced to tackle a rapid resurgence of Covid-19.
The news came as no new cases of the coronavirus were reported after 808 test results were returned to the Ministry of Health.
Kim Wilson, the health minister, said residents who returned to the island should have a pre-departure test, although it was not a legal requirement.
She added that there were “serious concerns” that 12 out of the 13 cases brought in from overseas in recent weeks were people who lived in Bermuda.
Ms Wilson reminded parents that children aged 9 and under who had travelled abroad could not attend summer camps, school or daycare centres until the adults they travelled with had three consecutive clear coronavirus tests.
Children aged 10 and over must also have had three negative tests.
Renée Ming, the Minister of National Security, said that groups of up to 75 will soon be allowed to gather without special permission.
Diallo Rabain, the education minister, highlighted that there were 26 days until the start of the 2020-21 school year. He assured the public that plans were progressing for the safe opening of public schools.
Mr Rabain said a hybrid learning programme designed to take into account “extremely clinically vulnerable” teachers and pupils would be available.
Mr Rabain insisted that staff and pupils must remain at home if they happen to become came ill.
Mr Rabain said that some parents had expressed an interest in continuing with remote-learning even if their children were healthy, but he added that was not the purpose of hybrid learning.
He added that officials in the departments of education and transportation were at work on schedules and health precautions for school bus runs and the plans were expected to be completed soon.
• To view statements from the Premier, Minister of Health, Minister of National Security and Minister of Education, click on the PDF links uinder “Related Media”
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