Island logs 11th Covid-19 death and curfew to stay
Covid-19 has claimed its first victim of the new year, it was revealed last night.
Kim Wilson, the health minister said the loss was “very upsetting” for the public.
The news came as Ms Wilson announced that more than 9,000 doses of vaccine will arrive on Friday on the British Airways flight from London.
She said vaccinations, which will be free, would start next Monday for healthcare and other essential workers, including police officers, firefighters and teachers.
Ms Wilson added rest home residents who consented could get the vaccine and that sites would be arranged.
She said that two doses of the vaccine were needed, with the second given three weeks after the first.
She said the first delivery was enough for 4,500 people, but that the British government had not yet said when another shipment would arrive.
Another 12,500 doses of a vaccine provided by Covax are expected to reach Bermuda in April.
Ms Wilson said a website for vaccination appointments would be live soon.
She added that waiting until Monday to start vaccinations the population had been decided for logistical reasons.
A vaccination “trial exercise” was held today at the Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist Church.
A medical committee, including staff from the Ministry of Health, will decide on a vaccine distribution plan.
Ms Wilson said a post-exercise debriefing will be held today “to evaluate the exercise and determine what tweaks and improvement are necessary’.
Ms Wilson said the first shipment of the vaccine would be used to vaccinate 500 people in rest homes and long-term care and about 4,000 healthcare staff
She added: “Thousands of people have been given a Covid-19 vaccine so far, and no serious side effects or complications have been reported.”
Ms Wilson added eight new coronavirus cases had been detected in 875 test results that came back to health officials since the last update.
One was a returned resident who flew to the island from New York last Wednesday and tested positive on Day 4.
Another arrived on a flight from Atlanta on Sunday and tested positive on arrival and two more arrived from London the same day, who also tested positive on arrival.
Two of the new cases were classed as on-island transmissions with a known contact and two are under investigation.
A total of three people have recovered and 99 cases are active.
There are five people in hospital, although none are in critical care.
Government introduced tougher restrictions last month as the number of coronavirus cases spiked and they were reviewed when Cabinet met today.
David Burt, the Premier, was also joined by Renée Ming, the national security minister, who said the curfew cut-off hour would change from 11pm to midnight.
The curfew will still run to 5am.
The amendment will come into effect from tomorrow.
Ms Ming added that there had been 26 breaches of the curfew detected since December 18.
Mr Burt said the closure of businesses would move from 10pm to 11pm.
But bars and night clubs unable to provide food service or outside seating will remain closed for “the time being”.
Mr Burt added the decision would be reviewed in two weeks’ time.
Gatherings will remain limited to ten people, but the limit on outdoor funerals has been increased from ten to 20 people.
Restrictions were also relaxed on personal services such as beard trimming.
Mr Burt said that benefit payments would be extended for people put out of work by the restrictions.
He added there was “hope on the horizon” with the arrival of the vaccine.
Mr Burt said: “I am approaching this new year with optimism and promise.“
There have been 632 confirmed cases of the coronavirus since March and 522 people have recovered from infection.
A total of 384 were on-island transmissions, with 349 with known contacts and 35 with no identified source.
The number cases that have come in from overseas is 168.
The seven-day average of the real-time reproduction number is less than one – 0.62 – and Bermuda’s country status remained at “clusters of cases”.
The news came after the UK went into lockdown yesterday and today the UK education minister announced the cancellation of GCSE exams and A Levels.