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More than 400 new coronavirus cases recorded, no one in hospital

The island logged 406 new cases of Covid-19 out of 13,772 tests over the last eight days, it was announced last night.

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus was responsible for 212 known cases out of the now 522 active cases of the coronavirus.

But health officials said the Omicron strain was responsible for none of the four latest deaths from Covid-19, which were announced on Wednesday night and brought the island’s death toll to 110.

No one is in hospital at present.

The surge in case numbers was more than double the 234 active cases reported on December 23.

It is also the highest number of cases since October 10, when the island’s count at the tail end of the fourth wave of infections dropped to 474.

Virus typing was only available for 217 active cases.

But the figures show the Delta variant, responsible for the last major surge of infections, had dwindled to only five known cases.

More than half the new cases – 242 – came from overseas.

Another 41 were classed as on-island transmissions and 123 are under investigation.

Fully vaccinated people accounted for 94 per cent of cases in travellers from overseas.

But that figure fell to 75 per cent for cases logged as on-island transmissions or under investigation.

Wayne Furbert, the acting health minister, warned of rising concern about “reports of people who are testing positive and still attending events such as football games, holiday parties and social gatherings”.

He added: “This is simply irresponsible.

“Please adhere to the current guidelines and requirements that are in place, which are there to protect and save lives.”

Mr Furbert said healthcare staff had been subjected to “a considerable amount of abuse from some members of the public, particularly at our testing centres”.

He added that attacks on staff were “unacceptable” and highlighted that the long holiday period had increased demands on already under-pressure healthcare workers.

Mr Furbert warned: “The professionals at our testing sites must not be subjected to verbal abuse from members of the public.

“They should be treated with decency and common courtesy.”

The island has had 50 weeks of vaccinations, with 115,145 doses given up to December 23.

A total of 71 per cent of the population has been immunised and 34.9 per cent have been given the booster jab.

The vaccination programme will restart on January 5.

Mr Furbert said the rising numbers of cases were “significant”.

He added: “This confirms what we have been saying for the past several weeks – the Omicron variant is highly transmissible and spreading rapidly.”

He added that countries around the world had seen an “exponential” rise in cases as the new variant spread.

Mr Furbert said: “Here at home we continue to advocate vigilance, personal responsibility and compliance.

“While we currently have no hospitalisations, this current spread has the potential to overwhelm our hospital’s resources, as well as our testing teams and MDL, and we must guard against that.

“As Bermuda heads into the New Year’s holiday weekend, I am urging the community to please make responsible choices.”

The public were advised to use masks, wash their hands often and keep people from outside their own households at a safe distance.

Mr Furbert also appealed to people to add antigen tests to their “pandemic toolbox”.

· For the dates and times for Covid-19 testing over the next few days, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

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Published December 31, 2021 at 6:30 pm (Updated December 31, 2021 at 6:30 pm)

More than 400 new coronavirus cases recorded, no one in hospital

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