OBA calls for an end to Covid-19 public safety restrictions
The Opposition One Bermuda Alliance is urging the Government not to renew public safety restrictions when they expire next week.
Michael Dunkley, the Shadow Minister of Health, also said that SafeKey and travel authorisation forms should be abolished.
Mr Dunkley spoke out after David Burt, the Premier, said that the island will have to learn to live with Covid and that TA forms would continue until April next year.
The Government imposed a string of public safety measures at the beginning of December after the highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus was detected on the island.
But those measures have proved ineffective in stemming the spread of the virus. On Monday the department of health confirmed that the number of active cases had skyrocketed to more than 1,100.
Mr Dunkley said today that the pandemic had morphed into an endemic and that steps needed to be taken to get Bermuda “back on the right track”.
He said: “In light of the comments by Premier Burt that we must learn to live with Covid and the Government is considering changes to current restrictions, here is a way forward to consider in the spirit of working together and getting Bermuda back on the right track:
“Covid is transitioning from a pandemic to an endemic. Let's use what we have learnt to our advantage.
“Do not renew the current emergency powers when they are due to lapse, and get rid of SafeKey — it is inequitable and is not working.
“Eliminate the TA Form. In its current form it is proving to be a disincentive to visit Bermuda and it is an expensive, bureaucratic inconvenience for returning residents. If the Government is not willing to eliminate it, then make it available at no cost for all travellers into the island.”
Mr Dunkley also advised the Government to “cut down” on PCR testing and use antigen tests instead.
He added: “Don't waste time on ‘pilot’ antigen programmes. Antigen tests are being used effectively in many jurisdictions, such as entry into the US and for pre-arrival tests back to the island. If they are good for these purposes they can work in other areas such as school testing.”
He said that the isolation period for vaccinated people who test positive for Covid or are a close contact should be shortened.
“Allow these people to have two negative home antigen tests on different days and then arrange an appointment for a government PCR test,” he said.
He also said that the curfew — currently between 12.30am and 5am — should be scrapped.