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Bermuda ranks high on testing

The scale of testing for Covid-19 was higher yesterday in Bermuda than any Caribbean country, according to data published online.

Figures on the Worldometer website showed that the island ranked above Aruba and the Cayman Islands when comparing the number of tests per million people.

David Burt, the Premier, tweeted yesterday: “I saw some ‘chatter' that Bermuda doesn't have an aggressive Covid-19 testing regime in place.

“As of Tuesday, we had the highest per capita testing rate in the Caribbean.

“There is work to do, and suggestions are welcome, but let's all be constructive as a country.”

Worldometer collects data from official websites and social media accounts of health ministries or other Government agencies, as well as “occasionally” drawing information from “leading and trusted news wires”.

After an update at 4pm yesterday, it showed that 949 tests for the coronavirus were carried out on people in Bermuda — consistent with the Government's website which at that time displayed figures as of 3pm on Wednesday.

The Worldometer page showed the figure worked out at 15,238 tests per million people, compared to 14,377 per million — 1,535 tests — for Aruba, where there were 100 confirmed cases and two deaths.

It indicated that 778 tests were carried out so far in the Cayman Islands, which would be 11,838 per million people.

A single death has been reported there out of 66 cases.

The figures showed that Montserrat and Sint Maarten had tested 7,212 and 6,204 people per million respectively.

Trinidad and Tobago was said to have carried out 1,039 tests per million people and the figure for Jamaica was 718.

However, data for some countries, including the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands, did not include the number of tests.

Mr Burt said on Wednesday that there had been “no greater champion of the importance of testing” that him.

He said: “From the beginning of this pandemic, and even before it was declared as such, I've been convinced that the only way to adequately respond, and make it through this pandemic is to test, test, test.”

The Premier added: “The simple fact is that widespread testing is a necessary prerequisite to open our economy.”

He explained that a multi-lane, drive-through facility” at Southside would open today to start testing essential workers.

Mr Burt praised Bermudian biochemist Carika Weldon and her team for achieving a “dramatic” increase in test capability for the virus.

A Government spokeswoman explained this week that the testing process has “multiple steps”, which include a range of manpower, personal protective equipment and supplies.

She added: “It is a complex, involved process where no single number is static for long.”

Mr Burt said on Sunday that 10,000 testing kits bought from the Cayman Islands were expected to arrive on the British Airways charter flight from London today.

A Government spokeswoman said that these will need to be validated with equipment on the island to make sure they are suitable for use.

The BA air bridge, which will bring back Bermuda residents, was also expected to deliver parts of test kits that, once complete, will provide capacity for 40,000 tests.

David Burt, the Premier (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published April 24, 2020 at 11:46 am (Updated April 24, 2020 at 11:46 am)

Bermuda ranks high on testing

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