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Covid-19 curfew extended for another two weeks

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Covid-19 restrictions are to be extended for another two weeks after 12 new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed, it was revealed last night.

The restrictions – including an 11pm curfew and orders for bars and restaurants to close at 10pm – were scheduled to end on December 22, but will now continue until January 4.

Renée Ming, the national security minister, added there were confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the prison service but could not say how many there were and refused to reveal if they were inside the prison system.

David Burt, the Premier, said some minor changes to the curfew may be announced next week, but the extension was needed to slow the "frightening“ spike in cases.

He said the measures introduced to slow the spread of infection were working and, although the number of new cases was still high, the figure had started to fall again.

Mr Burt also announced that unemployment benefit payments for those affected by the restrictions will also be extended for another two weeks.

Ms Ming said that the cases connected to the prisons had been isolated and “all persons” had been tested.

She did not reveal the number of positive cases and said she was “kind of concerned that there’s some sensitivity around that number”.

Ms Ming said: “The health and safety of the officers, staff and inmates at the Department of Corrections is our paramount concern.”

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said the new cases were among 1,397 new test results that came back to health officials today.

One was the result of on-island transmission from a known contact and the other 11 were under investigation, bringing the total under investigation to 88, up from 81 on Wednesday.

The results brought the number of confirmed cases in Bermuda to 497 and the number of active cases to 227.

Three patients were in hospital, but none are in critical condition.

A total of 261 patients have recovered.

Ms Wilson confirmed that the first Pfizer vaccines were still expected to arrive by the end of the first week in January.

She said that among the more recent cases, 25 patients were aged 18 or younger.

Ms Wilson added some of the recent cases had been linked to two “principal clusters” from the last weekend in November.

Mr Burt said measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus were “been targeted and effective”, but the public must continue to take precautions, use social distancing, wear masks and wash their hands often.

He added almost 16,000 people had now downloaded the WeHealth smartphone app, designed to make it easier to contact trace.

Mr Burt said the figure was a “good start”, but more work had to be done to cut infection rates.

He asked the public to keep the safety of their loved ones in mind at Christmas when families and friends traditionally came together to celebrate.

Mr Burt said: “Do not think only about yourself as you may be fine, but consider the vulnerable.

“Consider your parents, consider your grandparents or consider your great-grandparents.”

Mr Burt warned: “The coronavirus spreads asymptomatically. People who are not sick, who feel absolutely nothing, can pass it on to people who can get very sick, need hospital care and succumb to the symptoms of this virus.”

Ms Wilson added that restrictions on nurses to prevent them working at more than one care home remained in force and had caused staffing shortages at some homes.

She appealed to registered nurses who could help to send their resume to covid19resumes@gov.bm so they can be passed on to care homes.

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Published December 18, 2020 at 8:05 am (Updated December 18, 2020 at 11:19 am)

Covid-19 curfew extended for another two weeks

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