Tougher quarantine rules for arrivals laid out by minister
Details of the supervised quarantine programme for non-immunised travellers were revealed last night.
David Burt, the Premier, gave a grim warning on the “very significant and detrimental consequences for the entire country” if travellers with the coronavirus were allowed to mix with the population.
The new rules will start on June 8 and Mr Burt said: “Every outbreak starts somewhere.”
The Premier laid the blame for the latest outbreak of the coronavirus “with a high degree of certainty” on “a traveller who should have restricted their movements, but ignored that, went to a party, and later tested positive”.
Mr Burt said the “single reckless act” had led to hospital cases, closed businesses and schools and “further wounded the economy that was already trying to recover from previous challenges”.
He added: “I recognise people do not like what is necessary.
“But that is what you have in a once-in-a-century pandemic.”
Mr Burt was speaking after the island’s worst outbreak so far this spring, driven mostly by the more contagious B117 variant of the coronavirus.
Renée Ming, the national security minister, outlined the new quarantine regime, the cost of which must be borne by non-immunised travellers.
She said the government had spent $1.5 million on quarantining people last year and could no longer afford the cost.
Ms Ming added all non-immunised arrivals would have to stay at a designated hotel for 14 days at their own expense.
The designated sites at present are Grotto Bay in Hamilton Parish – at $291 a night per person, the Hamilton Princess, at $356 per head an night and Coco Reef, at $200 for single occupancy and $220 for double occupancy a night.
She said some people – those under 17 or over 65 and people with medical conditions – would be exempted from the requirement, as would bona fide medical companions.
People who left Bermuda before the new rules were announced, or who were ineligible for vaccines, could be exempted, but would have to be approved by the health ministry.
Quarantines will be supervised by the Government’s Disaster Risk Reduction Mitigation team.
Ms Ming said travellers could book hotel quarantine only up to 14 days before arrival.
A confirmed booking at a Government-authorised hotel must be prepaid before taking a flight to Bermuda.
She told the public: “If rooms aren’t available for your preferred dates, you must change your flight for a date when a Government-authorised hotel is available, or you should book at another hotel.”
She warned: “You could face a fine if you don't provide evidence of prepaid accommodation at a Government-authorised hotel prior to arriving in Bermuda.”
Bookings through travel agencies or online companies are will not be valid and that only bookings through the ResQwest portal online would be accepted.
Ms Ming warned that non-immunised foreigners who came to the island without a confirmed prepaid booking at a Government-authorised hotel would be refused entry and “immediately returned to their place of origin”.