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Eight new Covid-19 cases

David Burt, the Premier (File photograph)

The number of Covid-19 cases has more than doubled to 15, the Premier announced last night. David Burt said that eight more people had tested positive for coronavirus on top of the seven already detected. He added the news was “alarming” but “not unexpected”. Mr Burt said: “What is important is that we recognise all of what has been laid out. Nothing changes. We must make sure to follow the precautions that have been laid Aout.”He said the jump in the number of cases was not a reason for panic. Mr Burt added: “What we have to do is recognise that if we do not all do our part together, we will be challenged.” Mr Burt said the new Covid-19 cases demanded a “stricter approach” to combat community spread of the coronavirus. He added that the Cabinet would meet today. Mr Burt said: “It is important for the people of Bermuda to recognise that this is no ordinary time and ordinary approaches will not work. “Measures will include further restrictions on movement around the island and possible further ordered business closures.” He said three of the new cases were the result of “limited local transmission”. Mr Burt explained: “That means contact with known travellers or contact with those who have already been confirmed positive.”Mr Burt said that the cause of one of the new cases had “yet to be determined”. He added that four of the new cases came in on British Airways flights — two on March 15, and one each on March 17 and March 20. The self-monitoring period for people on the March 15 flight will end on Sunday, the self-monitoring period for people on the March 17 flight will end on Tuesday, and the self-monitoring period for passengers on the March 20 flight will end on April 3. Mr Burt said that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms should contact their doctor for advice.He added that Bermuda would continue its “aggressive testing schedule, as this is the only way we will contain this particular virus”. Mr Burt said that the Government was “constantly” working to increase Bermuda’s ability to test for the virus. Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, added that Bermuda had about 40 test kits in stock. She said: “We do anticipate further tests being on island next week, which were ordered several weeks ago.” Ms Wilson was unable to confirm when the extra test kits would arrive, but that the shipment would include “several hundred” of them. She said: “I think it’s like 850.” Ms Wilson could not say how many tests would be carried out over the weekend. Mr Burt added that problems with companies that had not allowed employees to work from home continued. He said: “In certain cases, whole offices have been ordered to work under the threat of losing jobs.”Mr Burt added: “I consider these actions to be a direct affront to the public health threat that this pandemic presents and for Bermudian companies to have the cavalier attitudes that these employers have demonstrated — putting profits above people — is not acceptable.” He said that the Cabinet would consider “significant penalties” for companies who failed to let staff work from home. Mr Burt said that police officers and the Royal Bermuda Regiment had started spot checks on people under self-quarantine orders at home. He added: “This is an important and necessary step to ensure the health of not just those in quarantine, but everyone in Bermuda.” Mr Burt said that it was not a time for people to be afraid. He added: “As your Premier, I am not frightened. I recognise that the public health team is doing what is necessary in order to make sure this particular epidemic can be contained.” However, Mr Burt said everyone should be vigilant and asked people to wash their hands, use social distancing and follow rules imposed by the Government. Mr Burt added: “If all of us in this country adopt a vigilant approach, if all of us become our brother’s and sister’s keepers ensuring that this approach is followed and maintained, we will be successful in containing the spread of Covid-19 in Bermuda.“On that I have no doubt.” • To read David Burt’s prepared statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”