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OBA backs end to hotel quarantine for non-vaccinated travellers

Support: Michael Dunkley, the shadow health minister (File photograph)

The Opposition has welcomed a decision to drop a policy that forced non-vaccinated travellers to quarantine in approved centres.

But the One Bermuda Alliance asked the Government to provide details on how much the controversial policy had cost taxpayers.

An OBA spokeswoman said: “We have never supported the mandatory hotel quarantine for non-vaccinated travellers and stated this when it was introduced.

“We are glad to see it being done away with.

“We always believed that electronic bracelets would be effective and we are pleased to see the Government using them while discontinuing the hotel quarantine.”

The Government introduced the Covid-19 public safety order in June.

Anyone unvaccinated who travelled to the island had to stay at a government-approved hotel for 14 days at their own expense. Vaccinated arrivals were allowed to quarantine at home.

Bermuda Regiment troops were drafted in to police the mandate.

A legal challenge to the order was mounted by pressure group Constitutional Freedom Bermuda and critics suggested the regulations were an attempt by the Government to pressure residents to get vaccinated.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, revealed last week that the order, which ran until yesterday, would not be extended – even though “the reality remains that the virus which causes the disease Covid-19 arrives in Bermuda via travellers”.

Non-vaccinated travellers who arrive on the island from today must still quarantine, but can do so in their own homes.

The OBA spokeswoman said: “Now that the policy of mandatory paid quarantine ends, we request government release details on how many people were quarantined, how many exemptions were given and what the total cost has been to the taxpayer in funding this policy.”

The spokeswoman added that, even though the rules had changed, it was still essential for the public to stick to Covid-19 safety regulations.

She said: “With this change, we urge both residents and visitors to the island alike to exercise personal responsibility when they arrive from overseas.

“This fourth spike has been caused by a few having disregard for Covid rules and regulations and for the health and wellbeing of those around them.

“It is unacceptable and we can do better.”

The spokeswoman added: “Many have complained that the policy was maligning the unvaccinated.

“Now we hope that they prove the policy wrong and that both the vaccinated and unvaccinated comply with regulations set before them.

“While it can be argued that returning residents and visitors to Bermuda have contributed to the numbers of positive cases, it’s the community spread that has caused the exponential rise, so doing away with the quarantine hotel should not put the island at any additional risk.”

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