Hotel quarantine hearing 'ambushed' by Government, plaintiffs claim
A pressure group has accused the Government of hijacking a hearing on legal action to block the imposition of mandatory hotel quarantines for travellers to Bermuda.
Constitutional Freedom Bermuda said lawyers for the Government “ambushed” the hearing with an announcement that the more virulent Brazilian or Indian strain of the coronavirus had been detected from last Thursday’s British Airways flight from London.
A spokesman for the group added: “The Government, despite ambushing the court hearing with the news of the strain coming to the island, has decided not to inform the Bermuda public as yet and yesterday announced that the island had gone seven days without a positive case.”
He told the public: “So the Government decided that it was important enough to raise the fact that a deadly strand of the Covid-19 virus was on the island during the injunction hearing, but not important enough to tell you, the public.”
The spokesman added that Delroy Duncan QC, who appeared for the Government, had told the court that Carika Weldon, head of the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory, would carry out further tests to determine what strain the virus was.
He was speaking after Chief Justice Narinder Hargun rejected a bid by three plaintiffs last Friday to put a temporary block on the hotel quarantine, which would have to be paid for by travellers.
But Mr Justice Hargun said a substantive hearing on the argument that the hotel quarantine was unconstitutional would be heard next month.
A Government spokeswoman last night did not answer questions on whether new variants of the coronavirus had been detected.
She said: “It should be noted that the method of reporting of Covid test results is unchanged in over a year, and as the next set of results will confirm, regrettably imported cases have interrupted Bermuda’s seven days without a positive case.”
Mr Duncan did not respond to a request for comment.
The coronavirus update from the Government last Friday said there were no positive cases out of 1210 test results that came back to health officials.
BA flights, however, are not scheduled to land until after 7pm and passengers have to be tested and the results analysed before any infections are announced.