Covid-19: drop in active infections logged
The number of active Covid cases has dropped significantly, the Minister of Health revealed last night.
Kim Wilson said there were now 601 active cases after five people tested positive for the coronavirus out of the latest 512 results.
The number of active cases peaked last Monday when 904 people had the coronavirus.
Ms Wilson said: “Our results are going in the right direction, and so far recoveries are outpacing the number of positive cases we report every day.”
Fifty per cent of the population has now had least one dose of the vaccine, with 37 per cent fully immunised, a slight rise on the 34 per cent reported last week.
But the Government appeared to back-pedal on earlier pledges that herd immunity – 70 per cent of the population vaccinated – will be reached by the end of May.
Ms Wilson said last night that the goal was to reach “close to herd immunity by the end of May”.
She added: “Everyone who wishes to be immunised – there are sufficient supplies for that. If you wish to be immunised, you’ll be able to have the vaccination.”
Asked about the vaccination rate, David Burt, the Premier, said: “As I said in my national address, we’re trying to bring the country together and focus on what our national objective is – to eliminate local transmission and to ensure that we can secure our borders against the introduction of any additional variants to our shores.”
Mr Burt added: “Six in ten of the eligible people in this country have taken the vaccine. There are more and more people electing to do so and that will continue.
He said: “Here’s the key point. If we eliminate local transmission we will be able to move beyond our period of restrictions.
“Vaccinations will certainly help that point, and I’m confident that eventually we will get to that point. We have the ability to deliver the number of vaccines to get us to 70 per cent.
“We have the seventh highest vaccination rate in the world … and so, while some may want to focus on statistics to say whatever, what I’m saying is that we as a country need to make sure that we are united in our goal to eliminate local transmission.”
Mr Burt said the UK had indicated that it would supply more vaccines to Bermuda if necessary.
A further bid to boost vaccine numbers started yesterday at Penno’s Wharf in St George’s.
A drive-in service will be added tomorrow at the Fairmont Southampton Resort and at the Transport Control Department in Pembroke on Sunday, from 10am to 2pm on both days.
Ms Wilson said there had been 55,319 vaccine doses administered up to last Saturday.
A total of 62 per cent of people aged over 65 are now fully immunised and 73 per cent have had at least one dose of the jab.
The update followed Mr Burt’s national address, when he announced more travel restrictions and the three phases Bermuda would go through before the island could start to get back to normal.
Mr Burt said non-immunised travellers will have to quarantine for four days pending a clear test result.
All non-immunised travellers, including Bermudians, will be required to spend 14 days in supervised quarantine at their own expense from June 6.
All immunised travellers entering Bermuda, with a negative pre-test, will not be required to quarantine after their negative arrival test, but they will still be required to be tested on days 4, 8 and 14.
Mr Burt insisted: “These actions are not intended to punish anyone.
“They have been put in place so we can ensure the return to normal life.”
Phase 2 will start on May 9, with an end to mandatory remote working and the island should move to Phase 3 on June 6, depending on infection statistics.
Mr Burt said: “Government takes the position that whether or not you get vaccinated is your choice.”
But he appealed to people who did not support vaccination to ensure they followed public health guidelines.
He added: “Get tested on a regular basis. Do what you can to boost your own immune system.”
Mr Burt said the UK had been “incredibly generous” in its donations of vaccine.
He added: “We have been assured if we require more, they will be supplied.”
The Premier said there would be a “full announcement” with updates and answers to questions on May 6.
Dr Miller also took questions on the use of Ivermectin, an anti-parasite medication, which has been used on a limited basis to treat the coronavirus.
He said the drug was not recommended by health authorities, including the World Health Organisation, the US Centres for Disease Control and Public Health England.
Dr Miller warned it was not a “wonder drug” and could have serious health consequences.
He said the drug was not offered by the Bermuda Hospitals Board, but BHB would permit it if patients signed a waiver.
The country also recorded its 24th Covid-related death this week.
The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 dropped to 28 up to Monday – nine of them in intensive care.