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Raft of Covid 'circuit breaker' regulations announced

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David Burt The Premier gave an update on stay-at-home measurements and restrictions on Facebook Live (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
National Security Minister Renee Mingv(Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Premier, David Burt, tonight outlined a raft of restrictions which he hopes will act as a “circuit breaker” to help stem the rise in cases of Covid-19.

It came as the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 increased by five to 41, the Government announced today

There are six patients in ICU and the number of active cases is now 859 - a slight drop from 877.

Since the last update, there have been 1,279 test results received by the Ministry of Health with 21 positive, giving a positivity rate of 1.6 per cent.

In a Facebook Live question and answer session tonight with the Premier and Renee Ming, the Minister of National Security, it was revealed that a continuous curfew will be in place from 5am tomorrow until 5am on Tuesday, April 20.

It was also revealed that eight people had been charged with breaches of Covid-19 regulations, one of whom had already been fined $3,000, while two sports bars were served with 24-hour closure notices for breaches.

The bars were later revealed by police to be Woody’s Sports Bar and Restaurant in Sandys and Western Stars Sports Club in Pembroke.

Ms Ming said several more people were due to face charges over the next two weeks.

She said that the Royal Bermuda Regiment will be embodied as well as the police reserve to enforce the restrictions.

Mr Burt said the stay-at-home order was intended as a circuit breaker and gave an overview of regulations in place.

He said that the measures were due to reckless behaviour, mixing of households and people not adhering to Covid-19 regulations and guidelines.

“We need to take stronger action to stop the spread and to reduce the possibility of our healthcare system becoming overwhelmed,” he said.

He said no one should leave their home at any time of the day or night while it is in effect except for certain reasons.

Essential visits are allowed to a permitted business including a grocery store, pharmacy, bank, gas station office or a registered health professional, clinic, the hospital or another health facility including a vet, and essential medical appointments during the hours of 7am and 7pm except in an emergency situation, scheduled procedure or appointment scheduled outside that period such as dialysis.

People are permitted to leave their homes to go for walk or run alone or with one other member of the same household for a maximum of 60 minutes a day from 7am to 7pm, remaining within one kilometer of their home.

People are allowed leave home to assist an elderly or vulnerable relative or neighbours – limited to the hours of 7am until 7pm except in an emergency situation.

In addition, people can attend an appointment at a Covid-19 testing centre or a vaccination centre, and take a flight leaving Bermuda.

Parents of a minor who do not live together may leave home during the hours of 7am and 7pm only to take the child to stay for one or more nights at the home of the other parent.

Care for children of essential workers will be available. All parks, beaches and Railway Trails will be closed.

Churches and religious establishments will remain closed. Members of the clergy are permitted to enter a church or other religious establishments during 7am to 7pm.

There will be no indoor funerals and outdoor funerals are limited to 10 mourners.

Hotels will be closed to the public owners of hotels, guest houses and vacation rentals must ensure that access to amenities and staff of the hotel are available to guest only. Indoor bars shall remain closed inside of hotel properties and indoor dining is permitted provided that no more than six persons are seated at one table and the tables are at least six feet apart. Only table service is permitted.

Trash will be collected as normal but the Tynes Bay facility will be closed.

There are no hospital visits unless permitted by the hospital nor can there be any visits to a residential care facility.

Ms Ming said: “I recognise that these are anxious times for our people and our country. But we have taken these actions to save lives. We urge the public’s cooperation as we continue to work together to control this outbreak.”

This evening Kim Wilson, the health minister, said: “As a country, we have experienced some incredibly trying and anxious days recently. As we prepare to stay-at-home for the next week, I wish to stress that we are taking these steps to help save lives and get a grip on the current outbreak.

“I understand the concern and angst in our community. However, if we stick to the guidelines that are in place under the Stay-At-Home regulations, I have every confidence that we will safely and effectively get through this as a country.

“During the Stay at Home Order, which starts at 5am tomorrow, you can leave your home if you have an appointment to get the Covid-19 vaccination or to get tested for the coronavirus. You may also attend a doctor’s appointment, and pick up prescriptions from the pharmacy.

“If you have a medical emergency you can go to the Emergency Room or call 911 for help.

“And just a reminder about the B117 UK variant, particularly about its symptoms, which tend to include cough, tiredness, headache, muscle ache and sore throat – these are easily confused with seasonal allergies.

"If you experience any of these symptoms please contact your doctor and make an appointment to get tested. Likewise, if you have been in contact with someone who has these symptoms, make an appointment to get tested.

“Finally, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their cooperation, and most of all I want to continue to extend my heartfelt thanks to our healthcare team at the Ministry of Health who are working around the clock to ensure the safety of our people.

“Lastly, each of us has a role to play in stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Follow Public Health guidelines, wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene, maintain physical distance and download the WeHealth Bermuda app.”

One of the new cases is classified as imported with details as follows:

• One resident who arrived on Delta Airlines DL 584 from Atlanta on March 27 and tested positive on their Day 14 test.

• 11 of the new cases are classified as local transmission with known contact as associated with known cases.

• The additional 9 new cases are classified as under investigation. These cases are among residents with no currently identified link to other known cases or history of travel in the past 14 days.

• There were 39 recoveries and no deaths.

Bermuda now has 1,912 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

There are 859 active cases, of which

• 818 are under public health monitoring; and

• 41 are in hospital with 6 in intensive care;

- a total of 1037 have recovered, and

- the total deceased remains at 16.

A Health Ministry spokeswoman said: “As investigations proceed, transmission categories may change. Today’s update has 72 cases moving from under investigation to local transmission with known contact/source.”

Of the over 200,000 test results reported, the mean age of all persons tested is 43 years (median: 42 years) and the ages range from less than 1 year to greater than 100 years.

The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is above 1 (1.09).

Bermuda’s current WHO country status is ’Community Transmission’.