No new Covid-19 cases, but vaccines close to running out next week
There were no positive coronavirus cases for the sixth day, in a row, the health minister said tonight.
Kim Wilson told the government’s weekly press conference that there had been 1,226 tests over the last 24 hours. There were two recoveries, meaning there are 17 active cases, of whom one is in hospital although not in critical care.
The improvement shows Bermuda continues to return to normal after the third outbreak of the virus which caused 21 deaths and a huge spike in cases in April and May, the latest Covid-19 figures are expected.
Ms Wilson said 52.1 per cent of Bermuda residents were immunised, and a further 6.2 per cent had had their first dose.
She said 76 per cent of people over the age of 80 were now immunised, as were 73 per cent of those aged 65 to 79, 66 per cent between the ages of 50 and 64 and 39 per cent of those aged up to 49.
Ms Wilson also reiterated the phase three social distancing rules which will take effect from Sunday and were first announced on Tuesday.
Ms Wilson said the next close to home vaccination centre will be at Victor Scott Primary School on Sunday from 10am to 2pm.
She noted that the majority of people receiving vaccinations at the close to home events were receiving their first doses.
Ms Wilson said the final first doses of Bermuda’s stock of Pfizer vaccines had to be given by June 8 – five days from now. She urged people to get their appointments for jabs as soon as possible.
She said once the current stocks of vaccines expired, there was no guarantee that Bermuda would get more Pfizer vaccines. But she said Bermuda would be sourcing more vaccines in the coming months.
There were enough vaccines in hand for everyone who wanted one, she added.
But in answer to a question, she admitted she did not know if any vaccines would be available on July 1 when the current vaccines expired. She said more vaccines had been ordered through the Covax vaccine facility but it was not known when they would arrive.
Answering further questions from The Royal Gazette, she said there were 220 doses remaining of the Astra Zeneca vaccine but 470 doses could still be “reimbursed” by Viking Cruise Line.
She said Bermuda still had 5,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine available – enough for 2,500 more people. But people needed to get their first dose by Tuesday, June 8.
Ms Wilson said there was no evidence to show that Covid-19 vaccines affected fertility. She said vaccines could be given to pregnant women but said pregnant women who contracted Covid-19 experienced worse symptoms.
Ayo Oyinloye, the chief medical officer, said Bermuda could not be moved off the World Health Organisation’s “community transmission” status until there were four weeks of data showing Bermuda had sporadic cases.
Dr Oyinloye said Bermuda was “on the cusp of three weeks” meaning it needed at least one more week of low cases in order to be moved. He said the same data was required for Bermuda to move from the Centres for Disease Control’s travel warning.
David Burt, the Premier, said he was disappointed the UK had not moved Bermuda onto its so-called green list but he said Bermuda was moving in the right direction.
He added that sports were now moving to phase 4 and in common with Cup Match, organisers of large sporting events could get approval for exemptions at 50 per cent of capacity provided they used the Safe Key programme.
Mr Burt noted that community protection was critical to avoid new variants.
Mr Burt said Government had hoped to end the health emergency on June 24 but Ms Wilson would tomorrow table legislation to extend the emergency for a further 60 days.
However he said government still hoped to end all restrictions except caps on large gatherings and the requirement for mask-wearing indoors.
Mr Burt said he expected that Safe Keys would be extended from June 15 when they are due to expire.
That legislation will be debated on June 18.
Mr Burt clarified that people would not require safe key for indoor dining in restaurants from Sunday.
Asked why restrictions on raft-ups, indoor dance recitals and other large events and overnight camping were being restricted when other large group caps were being relaxed, Mr Burt said government was taking a measured approach but hoped to lift all restrictions by June 24.
Mr Burt said allowing raft-ups for up to 50 people would be too difficult to enforce.