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Covid-19: Seven new cases bring island’s total over 600

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Seven new cases of coronavirus were confirmed today. There are now 162 active cases.
Covid-19 Press Conference: Walter Roban, the Acting Premier (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
A nurse holds a phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. U.K. health authorities rolled out the first doses of a widely tested and independently reviewed COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, starting a global immunization program that is expected to gain momentum as more serums win approval. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

Seven new cases of coronavirus infection have brought the island’s total cases to 602, it was announced this evening.

Kim Wilson, the health minister, said the results came out of 715 new test results.

Four cases are local with known contacts, and the remaining cases, among residents with no known links or recent travel history, are under investigation.

The total cases under investigation now stands at 84.

There are 162 active cases, with 158 under public health monitoring and four in hospital – none under critical care.

Ms Wilson revealed that “preparations are currently under way” to receive just over 9,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine against the illness in the New Year – sufficient to immunise just over 4,500 people.

Healthcare and essential workers as well as care home residents and the medically vulnerable will receive the vaccine first.

Ms Wilson said a central vaccine facility was being planned, but that it would be extended to “sites across Bermuda”, while a mobile facility would serve rest homes.

Whether the curfew will extend beyond January 4 had yet to be decided, she added.

But much of it would hinge on whether there were events over New Year’s Eve that led to problems.

Walter Roban, the Acting Premier, revealed that the Ministry of Finance had paid out $234,000 “in recent weeks” to workers left jobless in the hospitality industry by pandemic restrictions.

There has been $86,600 paid out so far to people who lost work after being sent home from their jobs to quarantine.

He also said that the WeHealth App, which automatically and anonymously notifies users of infected people in their proximity, had been downloaded 17,500 times.

The app is free, and private.

Mr Roban also gave condolences to the family of the latest person to die from Covid-19.

Mr Roban said: “We all were moved by the announcement that someone had passed, the tenth person to die as a result of the coronavirus here in Bermuda.

“The reality of it, everyone, is that the pandemic is still with as. A family as a result was left with an empty chair over the holiday time.”

Renée Ming, the national security minister, said visits to Corrections facilities remained suspended for safety reasons, but would be assessed next month.

Five Gombey troupes will be able to deliver the traditional performance on New Year’s Day under safety restrictions, she said.

Ms Ming warned: “Do not follow the troupes. Wear a mask at all times. Keep 12ft away from performers. Keep 6ft away from other spectators unless you are members of the same household, and do not gather in crowds.”

Out of total cases, 430 people have recovered, and the mean age of positive cases is 43.

Out of all cases, 157 are imported, and 361 are classed as local transmission.

Out of local cases, 334 are with known contacts, and 27 are with unknown contacts.

Two cases have moved from being under investigation to local transmission, and one case moved from being under investigation to local transmission with unknown transmission.

Bermuda’s seven-day average of the real time reproduction number is now at 0.55.

Mr Roban closed by reminding the community to “follow the restrictions and the guidelines so we can be successful in dealing with this virus through the New Year” and urged those in need of help to contact the emotional wellbeing hotline at 543-1111.

He added: “Our strength was tested as a community, as an island, in ways we had never, never seen before in the year 2020.

“We have bent, but we did not break.”

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Published December 31, 2020 at 8:09 am (Updated December 31, 2020 at 8:09 am)

Covid-19: Seven new cases bring island’s total over 600

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