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Senators pass law to remove quarantine exemptions for members of armed forces

Robin Tucker (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Senators have approved legislation that will see quarantine exemptions for members of certain armed forces removed.

The Quarantine Amendment Bill 2022 seeks to amend the Quarantine Act 2017 to make provisions for the Quarantine Authority to make emergency orders in relation to members of the forces wishing to land in Bermuda.

The principal Act gave exemptions to any conveyance forming part of the British armed services, the armed forces of any country within the Commonwealth or the armed forces of any country designated under the Visiting Forces Act 1952 (UK).

Arianna Hodgson, the Junior Health Minister, said yesterday: “This Bill amends the Quarantine Act 2017 to ensure that emergency orders made by the Quarantine Authority, such as the Quarantine Covid-19 (No 3) Order 2020, which applies to all travellers whether resident or visitor, applies also to any officer or member of crew of certain armed forces that are travelling to Bermuda.”

Unvaccinated travellers without proof of recent recovery are required to get an arrival PCR test, quarantine for four days, get a day four quarantine PCR exit test, and a day 10 supervised antigen test. See the full list of quarantine here.

Robin Tucker, a One Bermuda Alliance senator, said that the amendment “closes a gap that was overlooked”, but raised a question about when the Travel Authorisation process to enter Bermuda would be lifted.

Ernest Peets, the Government Leader in the Senate, said the question should be raised in a separate debate covering the public health emergency extension.

Ben Smith, Opposition Senate leader, pointed out that the same conversation had been held in the House of Assembly last week and MPs were instructed to ask the question under the Quarantine Amendment Act debate.

Dr Peets later corrected himself saying the senator was correct to ask the question when she did.

Mr Smith also asked: “What indications would we have to have to remove TA prior to the intended deadline, which is end of fiscal year in 2023?

“What benchmarks must we have to say we don’t need Travel Authorisation because of the frustration it has caused and impact it is having on people visiting our island?”

Ms Hodgson told senators that the island remains in a public health emergency.

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Published July 21, 2022 at 7:48 am (Updated July 21, 2022 at 7:37 am)

Senators pass law to remove quarantine exemptions for members of armed forces

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