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Curfew to be lifted on Monday

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Bermuda's Covid-19 curfew will be lifted on Monday, the head of the sub-committee responsible for reopening the Bermuda economy said last night.

It was also revealed at the regular coronavirus briefing that two new cases of the disease had been reported — and that one, a resident, had broken quarantine restrictions and gone to their workplace.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said that the curfew would be lifted on the condition that premises with a liquor licence closed at midnight.

But he warned that the decision to end the midnight to 5am curfew would be reviewed “weekly”.

David Burt, the Premier, added: “The ending of the curfew not only represents a major landmark in the reopening of our economy, but it will also create more opportunities for employment.

“This is something that many of us will welcome, but it must not be taken as a licence to lose our minds. Simply put, as I said before, please don't tear it.”

Kim Wilson, the health minister, said the two new cases were residents who returned on Wednesday's Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta.

Ms Wilson added: “It saddens me terribly to tell you that, unfortunately, one of those persons involved did not adhere to the required quarantine period and attended their workplace before actually waiting to receive their arrival test which turned out to be positive.

“Consequently, the case management team is busy contact tracing all of the persons that this individual was in contact with on the island, in addition to the nearby passenger on the flight.”

Ms Wilson said at the briefing at the Berkeley Institute that the advice to other passengers on the affected Delta flight was “to proceed with extreme caution”.

She told the passengers: “Follow the quarantine restrictions that you were given upon arrival, monitor your symptoms, wear a face mask at all times and keep six feet away from others.”

The Premier praised the island's efforts to combat the coronavirus and said that “collectively, Bermuda rose to the occasion”.

But he warned: “While most of us have done well by following the guidelines, we all have to remember it only takes one undetected case of this highly contagious virus to set us back.”

He said the quarantine breach was “disturbing” and that all six cases that had come in from overseas during the past two weeks since the airport reopened were returning residents.

Mr Burt added that police had launched an investigation into the resident on the Delta flight who breached quarantine.

He said the Cabinet would look at the introduction of additional quarantine requirements for returned residents who did not have a pre-arrival test for the coronavirus.

Mr Burt highlighted that visitors had complied with Covid-19 restrictions — but residents had turned out to be the ones in breach of the rules.

Ms Wilson said 363 test results for the virus had come back yesterday, with the Delta passengers the only positive tests.

The two new cases brought the island's total to 152, with six active infections, although none were in hospital.

Ms Wilson admitted the island's testing capacity was “stretched” by the influx of travellers.

She said testing would be reviewed based on public-health risks.

The island has a one-month supply of the nose and throat swab test for the coronavirus and a stock of 11,000 saliva tests.

Ms Wilson said antibody testing had restarted at Southside in St David's on July 5.

She added that the day-three test for travellers to the island would be moved to day four and the day seven test would be moved to day eight.

Ms Wilson said that the pre-travel test inside five days rule for arrivals would be extended by two days.

But she emphasised the island would not drop the pretest requirement for arrivals, despite delays in getting test results in the United States.

Ms Wilson said that as the prevalence of Covid-19 in America increased “we are anticipating we will see more positive cases coming to our shores”. She added that people who tested positive for the coronavirus would be ordered to isolate.

Colonel Burch said the term “exceptional circumstances” would be dropped from applications to the Minister of National Security for permission of gatherings of more than 50 people.

He added that the condition had been “confusing” for the public.

The change is expected to take effect by Tuesday.

Camping in parks and on beaches will be allowed for the Cup Match holiday from July 29 to August 3.

Park gates will be opened on July 28 to allow the public to set up camping equipment.

But bonfires and “excessively loud music” will not be allowed.

No dogs or horses will permitted on beaches and no vehicles will be allowed into parks after the gates are closed.

Colonel Burch said: “If we act badly, there will be no hesitation in recommending to Cabinet that we return to an earlier phase to protect our country.”

To view the full statements from the Premier, the Minister of Health and the chairman of the reopening sub-committee, click on the PDF links under “Related Media”

Word of warning: Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the head of the sub-committee overseeing the reopening of the Bermuda economy, tells the press conference last night that restrictions will be lifted on a conditional basis (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
David Burt, the Premier (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Graphic by Christina White
Graphic by Christina White

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Published July 17, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 17, 2020 at 9:04 am)

Curfew to be lifted on Monday

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