Island to ease Covid-19 travel rules for visitors and residents
The island will start admitting unvaccinated travellers from Monday, Kim Wilson, the health minister revealed last night.
Under existing regulations, non-residents aged 12 and above are not permitted entry to the island.
The announcement came as Bermuda’s active Covid-19 cases fell sharply over the last week, down to 144 after the island recorded 238 cases on August 10.
Seven people are being treated in hospital but none are in intensive care.
The easing of rules against the virus follows the major step on April 1 of dropping mask requirements in many of the island’s public settings.
Under the new regulations, unvaccinated residents no longer have to quarantine for four days when they return to the island – and there is no requirement for a Day 10 test.
Unvaccinated visitors must take a Covid test no more than two days before landing in Bermuda, and then test again on Day 4.
Under the amendments to quarantine legislation, unvaccinated visitors must have valid travel health insurance to enter the island.
Proof of travel health insurance must be uploaded to their Travel Authorisation application for approval.
Unvaccinated residents can take a Covid test no more than two days before landing or, if they choose not to, take a Covid test on arrival at the airport.
They will test again on Day 4 – but there is no quarantine requirement, and no Day 10 test.
Residents who previously travelled with proof of recent recovery from Covid, or with a medical exemption from vaccination, will no longer need to provide that proof or get that exemption.
Instead, they will fall into the category of an unvaccinated resident and will be required to follow the same testing regime – of a pre-arrival test and Day 4 test, or arrival test and Day 4 test.
Unvaccinated cruise passengers must take a Covid test no more than two days before coming ashore.
Ms Wilson said that, depending on the length of their journey to the island, they may need to test again before disembarking in Bermuda.
“This is familiar territory for the cruise lines, as Bermuda already requires additional testing for vaccinated travellers when the journey to Bermuda is longer than four days,” she said.
Mariners who have not been vaccinated will get a Covid test no more than two days before setting sail.
Because sailing journeys to Bermuda take more than two days, they will be required to provide proof of a negative Covid test within 24 hours of arrival on the island.
They can do this using a tele-health service, or by going to Perot Post Office in Hamilton.
Sea travellers will test again on Day 4 as well – comparable to the approach of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention for unvaccinated travellers arriving in the United States.
Residents who are unwilling to comply with testing will need to quarantine for four days after landing in Bermuda.
They will be able to leave quarantine with a negative Day 4 test.
Unvaccinated travellers with a Travel Authorisation that was submitted before August 22, but that has yet been approved, will be held to the new requirements.
Ms Wilson said she was “pleased” to announce the changes to the Quarantine (Covid-19) (No 3) Order 2020.
The easing of international restrictions have come as health authorities in many countries signalled a shift in the Covid-19 pandemic.
In June, the CDC dropped the requirement for international air travellers to test for the virus before entering the US – with the authority citing the widespread use of vaccines, the development of new therapies against the virus, and the build-up of vaccine and infection-induced immunity.
Bermuda’s latest figures came as the island’s active cases, now thought to be dominated by new variants of the Omicron strain of the virus, have fluctuated over months.
There were 118 new positive cases found out of 4,169 test results since August 10, giving a test positivity rate of 3 per cent.
Of the new cases, 52 came from overseas, 23 were attributed to local transmission and 43 were under investigation, with 212 recovering from the virus.
The island has logged 17,674 recorded cases of Covid-19 since March 2020, with 148 deaths attributed to the virus.