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Two in hospital as Bermuda passes 6,000 Covid-19 cases

Two people are in hospital with Covid-19 as cases of the Omicron variant continued to surge, the Government announced yesterday afternoon.

A spokeswoman said that 97 cases of the virus were recorded after tests carried out from Sunday to Tuesday came back to health officials.

There are 234 active coronavirus cases. The two in hospital are not in intensive care.

The figures showed active cases had more than doubled since 102 were recorded on Monday.

Typing by variant was available for 160 of the 234 active cases – with 144 cases, 90 per cent, of them Omicron.

The remaining 16 cases were the older Delta variant, responsible for the majority of the island’s fourth wave of cases in the autumn.

It is the first time two people were in hospital with the virus since November 15.

Omicron cases have climbed sharply since the first case was detected by health officials on December 7.

The latest figures brought the number of confirmed coronavirus cases since March 2020 to 6,014.

A spokeswoman for the health ministry said: “The ministry notes that as Bermuda heads into the long holiday weekend the public is urged to please adhere to the current guidelines and requirements that are in place.

“The public should note that the Omicron variant is rapidly spreading. The public cannot become complacent.

“Any regulations that are in place are there to protect and save lives.”

The spokeswoman told the public: “Please continue to wear your mask, wash your hands, keep physically distanced from others not in your household and add antigen tests to your pandemic toolbox before you socialise with your family and friends.”

The 97 newest cases were found in 5,849 test results.

There were 67 from overseas, 12 classed as on-island transmissions and 18 are under investigation.

The spokeswoman said there had been 15 recoveries since the last update.

The statistics showed that 94 per cent of the island’s active cases from overseas were in fully vaccinated people.

In active cases that were on-island transmissions or under investigation, 81 per cent were fully vaccinated.

Kim Wilson, the health minister, said this week that new cases were at present mostly confined to travellers and vaccinated people.

But she warned it was “just a matter of time” before the more transmissible Omicron variant moved on to more vulnerable and unvaccinated people.

Vaccination clinics are to go on a break over Christmas and restart early in January.

The new figures were announced as the island prepared to head into a 12.30am to 5am curfew which will last until January 20 at least.

Ms Wilson this week also discouraged households from mixing over Christmas, and suggested the public should use home antigen test kits to check their health before they socialised with others.

A reminder of the new restrictions and policies

 A curfew from 12.30am to 5am

 Maximum group sizes will go down to 20 people

 Household mixing is discouraged. But, if people must attend a household other than their own over the holidays, they should take an antigen test before the visit.

 Masks must be worn indoors at all times and outdoors when people are within 6ft of someone else.

 For restaurants, bars and clubs, tables will be limited to a maximum of ten people and must be spaced 6ft apart. SafeKey will continue to be required for indoor settings.

 The Government has asked people who are able to work remotely from home to do so. Employers were also encouraged to use antigen tests to ensure staff who must be in the workplace were clear for the coronavirus.

 Churches will be open, but masks must be worn by officiants, the congregation and choirs.

 Gyms can remain open, but SafeKey must continue to be used and physical distancing must be observed.

 SafeKey is recommended for personal care services that require masks to be removed.

The seven-day average of the island’s real time reproduction number is 0.82.

As of Tuesday, the average age of the island’s positive cases was 30, with the majority of people testing positive in the age range of 10 to 19.

The Ministry of Health said that 70.9 per cent of the population had been given two doses of the vaccine by December 18.

The spokeswoman added: “Additionally, 31.4 per cent of the population have received a booster.”