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Covid-19 active cases pass 200 mark as 33 infections reported

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

Bermuda has recorded a further 33 cases of Covid-19 today, bringing the number of active cases to 213.

But David Burt, the Premier, said that, while continued high numbers of coronavirus cases were to be expected, the return of lockdown would only come if “the healthcare capacity of the country is overwhelmed”.

Of the new cases recorded today, 14 are classified as local transmission, while the remaining 19 are under investigation. None of the infected are in hospital.

Bermuda has now recorded 947 cases of the virus in the past year - with 174 positive tests being logged since last Saturday.

Government also warned that Bermuda’s country status of “sporadic cases“ is likely to be downgraded: “The seven-day average of our real-time reproduction number is above one, and Bermuda’s current country status remains ’Sporadic Cases’. It is anticipated that this status will change over the next few days.”

Commenting on tonight’s figures, Kim Wilson, the health minister, urged people to get tested.

She said: “This current spread is extensive, and people need to know their status.

“Now more than ever, I strongly suggest people get tested for Covid-19 and if you do not feel well, or have cold or allergy symptoms, put yourself in quarantine.”

She added: “There are people who do not want to cooperate with contact tracers. If a contact tracer contacts you, it is vital that you cooperate. Your assistance can help reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.

“The quicker we can identify people who may be positive for COVID-19, the quicker we can stop the transmission of the disease.

“Our contact tracers are working tirelessly, seven days a week, hours on end, to help protect this community. We must all do our part, so please, help them to help us all.”

In the House of Assembly earlier today, Mr Burt said everyone should be regarded as a potential carrier of the virus and particularly of the virulent UK variant.

“Treat every single person that you come into contact with with the knowledge they may be an asymptomatic carrier of this dangerous strain,” he said.

But he said the island was not seeing sustained community transmission of the virus with the recent soaring numbers of cases.

He said: “We have reported significant numbers of cases this week, and we’re expecting to report a significant number of cases for the next few days.

“What’s different in this outbreak versus the outbreak we had in November is that many of these cases are related.

“We’re getting cases of entire households, things like that.”

Mr Burt said testing teams were casting “a very wide net” in tracking down cases.

Responding to questions from Cole Simons, the Leader of the Opposition, the Premier said an “overwhelming of healthcare” included hospital cases and ICU admissions as well as contact tracing, vaccinations and supplies for tests and personal protective equipment.

“When those get stressed, then we can see if any further restrictions are needed.”

Mr Simons said the community was “uncomfortable and very concerned” about high-profile rule-breaking.

He said there seemed to be a “disparity” between the Bermuda Police Service sending files to the DPP and “the DPP saying those files are incomplete”.

“What can be done to make sure they are brought to justice more quickly, effectively and promptly?” asked Mr Simons.

Mr Burt said he shared concerns over any delay getting these cases before the courts.

He said he raised the issue during his audiences with Rena Lalgie, the Governor, and encouraged Mr Simons to do the same.

“I was incredibly concerned to see the news reports on a news channel of a public spat earlier this week, where the BPS is accusing one side and the DPP was going back and forth in the press.”

The Premier added: “That’s not the way it needs to happen. We need to be in a place where we can work together.”

Earlier this month, Assistant Commissioner of Police Martin Weekes ascribed part of the delay to a change of staff at the DPP.

Cindy Clarke, the DPP, told ZBM this week that a change in personnel was not the issue – and that files on breaches of Covid-19 regulations had been flagged up over a lack of sufficient evidence.

Mr Burt said: “I would hope that the administration of justice, which would fall under Government House, would be able to work more effectively.”

He told the House “a better job needs to be done” but noted that fixed penalties would bring “swifter action on penalties and fines”.

Mr Simons also highlighted concern over the Bermuda SailGP set for next month when the plug had been pulled on other sports events.

But Mr Burt said an outdoor viewing planned at Cross Island in Dockyard had been cancelled, and that the sailing itself was not a contact sport liable to spread the virus.

Mr Simons noted that a groups of visitors were coming by private jet as part of a tourism package for the sailing.

Mr Burt replied that strict testing and health restrictions remained in force regardless of how tourists arrived.

The original headline on this story was corrected to show there were 33 cases recorded, not 31.

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Published March 27, 2021 at 5:55 pm (Updated March 27, 2021 at 7:03 pm)

Covid-19 active cases pass 200 mark as 33 infections reported

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