More than 500 Covid cases, 20 in hospital and five in ICU
Bermuda’s Covid-19 have shot to more than 500, quadrupling in weeks with more than 20 people now in hospital and five in intensive care.
David Burt, the Premier, told the House of Assembly the island’s unvaccinated were bearing the brunt of the new surge.
He added there were no “major proposed changes to public health regulations at this time”.
Mr Burt traced the outbreak to actions “two to three weeks ago” and said imposing a lockdown now would not stop the increasing numbers of people going to the hospital.
But he vowed that enforcement efforts would “redouble” and that officials would meet later today to discuss the issue, including potential changes to maximum group sizes.
As long as healthcare is “properly managed”, Mr Burt said the island had no need to revert to lockdowns and curfew.
But he criticised a “cavalier” attitude to the pandemic.
Mr Burt highlighted remarks this week by Kim Wilson, the health minister, on “how this outbreak has been fuelled by people ignoring the basics and going to work when unwell”.
He added: “The same must be said of family and a business who failed to follow the traveller continuum on their return to Bermuda and caused a cluster in a school/camp setting.
“There are many other examples of persons not following the rules that have been made to prevent the spread of this deadly virus.
“The culmination of this is that we now have a wave most harshly affecting the unvaccinated – those who cannot be vaccinated due to age or medical condition, and those who to date have chosen not to be vaccinated.
“We now have community transmission. There are a significant number of cases under investigation and the increased community testing continues to identify positive cases.”
The Premier said 2020s blanket measures, “that affect all persons and all businesses despite their compliance with the rules, will not be immediately applied to this period in 2021”.
But he added: “As long as we are able to properly manage the care of those who need medical attention generally and those persons with Covid-19 we have no need to revert to lockdowns and curfews; but, these measures remain a possibility if we cannot take care of the sick in the community.”
Mask wearing rules and limits on group sizes are to be strictly enforced, and Mr Burt said establishments required to use SafeKey should be closed if they did not operate according to guidelines.
He emphasised personal responsibility, adding: “We must adjust our lives to live with the coronavirus”.
Senior police officers are likely to be empowered to shut down businesses flouring Covid-19 regulations.
Mr Burt told the public “not to think Covid-19 is a thing of the past and party like it’s 2019”.
“Now is not the time for us to act with wanton disregard and be resigned to a lockdown to solve a problem caused by that wanton disregard.”