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Covid-19: two in hospital

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A Covid-19 patient was today in critical care, the health minister told the House of Assembly.

Kim Wilson said one other victim of the disease was also in hospital, but in a general ward.

The grim news came as Bermuda reached a total of 278 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

But Ms Wilson told MPs the first vaccines against Covid-19 from Public Health England could arrive as early as December 14.

Another supplier, the Covax centre, has committed 25,567 shots of its vaccine, which could arrive in the first or second quarter of next year.

Ms Wilson said the Covax vaccine, a double-dose shot, would cover about 12,000 residents, and Public Health England’s supply sent to the island would be proportional to Britain’s reserves.

The Government has committed $267,000 for the Covax vaccine, but there is no cost to the island for the UK supply, which will include the Pfizer and the Oxford vaccine.

The details came as Ms Wilson outlined tighter restrictions against the pandemic, which included closure of bars and nightclubs at midnight instead of 2am.

She said the move would cut down on people mixing in settings that could have “a less robust adherence to public health protocols”.

MPs heard there was “no doubt” Bermuda was seeing the effects of the pandemic surge elsewhere in the world – and that contact tracing “strongly” suggested social activities and gatherings were to blame for the increase in cases.

Ms Wilson said six new cases were found in 678 test results that came back to health officials on Thursday – which took the total number of active cases to 53.

One of the new cases was a resident who arrived on the Delta flight from New York on Wednesday and tested positive on arrival. They had not taken a pre-departure test.

Two of the new cases were classified as on-island transmission with known contacts.

Both were residents under quarantine as close contacts – one in a household and one in a workplace – of known cases, one of whom had symptoms of the disease.

The other three new cases were said to be under investigation.

Ms Wilson’s was speaking after the Government announced fines this week to penalise anyone breaking mask-wearing requirements.

She said police would report offenders to the Department of Public Prosecutions.

Conviction for a first offence will mean a $500 fine. Further offences will get a $1,000 fine.

Ms Wilson said the Government would introduce a “traveller wristband” to be worn by everyone who arrived on the island until their day 14 test returned a negative result.

She warned removal of the wristband would also mean a fine of $500.

Ms Wilson said the ministry had developed “a new traveller continuum” to give clearer directions to visitors and returned residents for their first 14 days on the island.

She added travellers who tested clear pre-arrival and on arrival at the airport could use public transport, dine outdoors – or indoors only at the hotel where they are staying – go shopping, take part in outdoor activities and work remotely from home.

But they will not be allowed to go to work or attend in-person meetings, go to church, dine indoors at restaurants not in their hotel, go to a gym, attend a permitted large event or other events such as a house party, birthday party or funeral.

Travellers who get a clear day four test result can dine indoors and attend permitted outdoor large events, but still cannot go to a gym or play a contact sport.

Travellers without a pre-arrival test are tested on arrival at the airport and must remain in quarantine until they get a clear day eight test result.

Travellers can to go work and attend meetings, go to school and daycare, go to the cinema and attend church if a clear day eight test is received.

A clear day 14 test is required before any traveller can use a gym or play a contact sport.

Masks are not required in the workplace if staff can maintain a 6ft distance from one another.

The new directions were to be published on the Government’s website yesterday.

Ms Wilson told Michael Dunkley, an Opposition backbencher, that she was comfortable with the island’s pandemic supplies.

She said present stocks of PCR test kits for the coronavirus stands at 142,848.

Ms Wilson added other supplies included 360,000 pairs of gloves, 730,000 surgical masks, 690,000 N95 masks, 30,000 gowns and 36,000 face shields.

She said healthcare workers and potential vulnerable people would likely be first in line when vaccines arrive.

Ms Wilson added there would be an educational campaign that would include showing people taking the vaccine, to address “vaccine hesitancy issues”.

· To read the minister’s remarks in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

Covid-19: The rules explained

Under the emergency regulations for Covid-19, residents are required to wear a mask protecting the nose and mouth in situations where they cannot maintain social distancing of 6ft.

Wear a mask so it comes close to the bridge of the nose, and all the way down under the chin.

Exceptions are for people at home or with members of their household, people eating and drinking, and children aged under 2.

The mask requirement applies to all workplaces, public transport or taxis, and visiting any establishment, including outdoors, unless otherwise instructed.

It includes parks, streets and other public places where 6ft separation cannot be maintained.

To safely remove a used cloth face covering, do not touch the eyes, nose or mouth.

People should hands immediately after removal.

A washing machine should adequately clean a cloth face covering.

Cloth face coverings should be washed on a regular basis, depending on frequency of use.

The health department warned that children under 10 are less likely to wear masks correctly and should not be in situations where they are forced to wear masks all day at school or in daycare.

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Published December 04, 2020 at 6:59 pm (Updated December 04, 2020 at 8:03 pm)

Covid-19: two in hospital

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