Burt to residents: do your part
Residents were asked to help Bermuda “write its Covid story” yesterday before the island went into its first night of curfew.
David Burt, the Premier, said that everyone had a role to play in battling the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the world.
He explained: “We all must do our part. Public health depends on individual responsibility. In Bermuda, we will write our own Covid-19 story. We are the only people who will have a say on how this story unfolds.”
Mr Burt added that if people abide by the 8pm to 6am curfew and follow public health guidelines about handwashing and social-distancing to minimise the chance of community spread, “we will all make a difference”.
The curfew will be enforced by police officers and soldiers, with punishments of up to six months in jail, a fine of $2,880 or both. Bermuda has recorded 22 cases of Covid-19 so far. Of those, two were stable in hospital.
Mr Burt said a further 35 people were tested over the weekend and that the results were expected today. He added that ten of the confirmed cases have fully recovered. The Premier said that the Bermuda Police Service received more than 300 applications for exemptions from the curfew, which were being processed.
He added: “I must state that most of the persons who submitted for exemptions will likely not receive them, because this is a preview of what is to come if the country does not adopt the strict social-distancing measures, which are needed to ensure that we do not have an outbreak of Covid-19 in Bermuda.”
The Premier said that anyone without an exemption must be off the streets during curfew hours.
He explained: “This means that you cannot drive around in your car, you cannot go for a walk, you cannot dash to the gas station and this means that everyone in Bermuda must be in their homes.”
Mr Burt said that after 6am, people could resume “limited movement”, which included exercise, running and walking, but could gather in groups of no more than ten.
He said: “The decision to put in a curfew was not arrived at lightly. However, we only have to turn on our TVs, or look online to see how the coronavirus has impacted other countries and how healthcare systems around the world are being overrun, which is leading to misery and death.
“We do not want that here in Bermuda and we all have our part to play in flattening the curve and limiting the number of persons that contract this virus, at any one time.”
Mr Burt added that a “delicate balance” had to be struck between a level of operation in the country and restrictions to minimise community spread.
The Premier said that the extent of the limitations would depend on data received from the island's testing regime.
He explained: “At this point in time, there is no evidence of community transmission, but if there is evidence of community transmission, the advice that is given to all persons is that you have to take a tougher approach.
“That is why we're being very aggressive in our testing, very aggressive in making sure that we can contact trace and ensure that we have any type of outbreak contained.
“But if we have an instance where we have an uncontrolled outbreak, there will be stricter measures that are taken. I want to do everything possible to avoid that and that's why I'm asking for the co-operation of all residents, to make sure that we do not get to that particular place.”
The Premier said that he hoped to provide more information today about two confirmed cases of Covid-19, which were listed on the Government's website as “under investigation”.
He explained that the two people had been under investigation since March 26 and 27, after first showing symptoms on March 17 and March 21, respectively.
Although he was unable to provide age ranges for all 22 cases, Mr Burt said that the age range of the first 15 people affected was from 18 to 69.
Mr Burt said that his government was trying to accommodate the needs of people as they adapted their routines and that a childcare service for the children of essential workers was expected to be launched this week.
Chief Inspector Robert Cardwell said that a police employee was among the people who had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Responding to a question from TNN, he said: “I can confirm that one of our staff did come down, has been diagnosed with Covid-19, he's obviously signed off.”
Mr Cardwell added that the police station where the individual worked was “completely disinfected”.
A BPS spokesman explained later that the officer went on leave and his last working day was March 11. The officer showed no symptoms until 15 days later, when he was diagnosed.
He added: “Bermuda Police Service observes the Covid-19 protocols and safeguards as outlined by the Bermuda Government.”
• To view the Premier's statement in full, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”