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Covid-19 pre-arrival test cut to five days

Covid-19 briefing: David Burt, the Premier (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Visitors to Bermuda will be required to have a negative coronavirus test no more than five days before their departure to Bermuda, health minister Kim Wilson said tonight.

Non-residents were earlier required to have a negative test inside seven days before departure.

Ms Wilson said the change was made as a result of an increase in infections and because pretesting availability had improved in the US and Canada.

David Burt, the Premier, said negotiations were under way with a nationwide testing service in the US to make more pretests available to travellers to Bermuda.

Ms Wilson added the Government was “in the final stages of discussion” with “a chain everybody knows”.

She said: “It’s a chain that’s widely accessible within the United States.

“It should pose very minimal difficulty for Bermudians travelling overseas to access PCR tests and they have indicated they will have the results within 48 hours.”

Mr Burt confirmed that infection rates for people arriving in Bermuda had increased in recent weeks, and said Bermuda could not become complacent if the Island was to avoid the lockdowns forced on other countries.

The rate of positive test results tripled from September to October, climbing from 0.13 per cent of passengers to 0.39 per cent.

Mr Burt added 24,000 people had come in through the airport since it reopened on July 1.

Ms Wilson and Mr Burt said Public Health England had committed to providing Bermuda with a proportionate number of vaccines that were being used in England.

Mr Burt added that meant that if England had enough vaccines for 20 per cent of its population, then Bermuda would receive the same amount, as would the other British Overseas Territories.

Ms Wilson said she believed the Covax centre organised by the World Health Organisation would also secure the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as well as the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not reported test results in recent times.

Ms Wilson also revealed that refrigeration facilities needed to store the vaccines had been sourced and ordered and were on their way to Bermuda, but did not provide a cost.

Mr Burt said the Department of Workforce Development had launched a series of job training courses for Bermudians left unemployed by the crisis.

A registration deadline of November 27 is in place for courses in computer literacy, as well as training as an administrative assistant, cleaning technician, in the food and beverage industry and landscape gardening.

A training programme matching college and university graduates with opportunities in their chosen field has a Monday deadline.

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Published November 18, 2020 at 9:39 am (Updated November 18, 2020 at 9:43 am)

Covid-19 pre-arrival test cut to five days

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