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Covid-19: baby among four new coronavirus cases

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David Burt, the Premier, announces tighter restrictions as Covid-19 cases rise (Photgraph by Blaire Simmons)
Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, at the Covid-19 press conference (Photgraph by Blaire Simmons)

The Premier highlighted his frustration last night after a baby contracted the coronavirus because people failed to follow precautions at a workplace.

David Burt was speaking after Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, reported that there were four coronavirus cases out of 808 test results received yesterday.

The age range of all 239 confirmed cases in Bermuda is from infant to 101 – with the baby the youngest case so far.

Mr Burt said: “The fact that we are dealing with someone who is under the age of 1, clearly, is due to the fact that at a workplace people were not following simple and basic precautions.

“There was an individual who had symptoms who was there for a week, persons were concerned and nothing was done – inexcusable.

“So we are actually now dealing with potential additional restrictions … and we got lucky in capturing the case and identifying the cluster as quickly as possible because individuals had a concern and they took it upon themselves to go ahead and get tested.”

He added: “I’m upset because this is completely and absolutely preventable and it is inexcusable for this particular workplace for that to have happened, completely inexcusable.

“If there is one place where they should have known what the rules are, it’s that place.”

Ms Wilson said that one of the new cases was a returned resident who arrived on a Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta last Sunday.

Three were transmitted on island with a known contact – one had household contact with an under-investigation case linked to a workplace.

The other two were residents who had close contact in the same household as a case linked to the same workplace.

The age range for the three on-island transmissions is infant to 56.

The latest results bring the number of active coronavirus cases to 25 with none in hospital.

A total of nine people with Covid-19 have died and 205 people have recovered from the coronavirus.

The country status has changed to “clusters of cases”.

Ms Wilson appealed to the public to reduce their “bubbles”.

She said: “Choose only one or two other households to socialise with for the next few weeks.

“It is particularly easy to be casual in the workplace and relax around colleagues as you would around your family. Do not do this.”

Ms Wilson added that gatherings of different households over the holiday season should be limited to as few people as possible so that social distancing could be maintained.

She said that gatherings should be held outdoors rather than inside where possible and that ventilation should be increased indoors and guests should wear masks.

Ms Wilson said that health officials were in talks with care home operators over a proposal to restrict visitors to only people ruled to be “essential”.

She added that “restricted outdoor visiting” would be allowed.

Changes are also expected to be made to regulations so that larger gatherings will be limited to 50 people, instead of 75 at present, without special permission.

Ms Wilson said a “more comprehensive mandatory mask mandate” was also planned.

Mr Burt warned that “some people are not as diligent as they once were”.

He said: “I am confident in the regime that we have put in place, but it is vital that every single person in the country act as if everyone we are in contact with may be infected so that we can reduce the chance of spread.”

The Premier said that the Cabinet agreed to tighten some restrictions when it met today.

He said that bars were thought to be the “largest risk factor” and that changes to regulations were expected to include a requirement for bar staff to be screened for the coronavirus with saliva tests.

Mr Burt said that police have been asked to take a zero-tolerance approach, especially to licensed premises, which he added was not used last weekend after police announced they would crack down on people who flouted the rules.

He warned that licensed premises who failed to stick to health rules could be shut down for 24 hours.

Mr Burt said: “I have no desire whatsoever to revert to shelter-in-place … but if we do not all do our part, we will be forced to do so.

“We have seen other countries where small outbreaks have turned into larger outbreaks.

“That is not what we will have here.”

Mr Burt said that the WeHealth Bermuda app – along with contact tracing, mask-wearing and social distancing – would give “even greater protection” from the coronavirus.

The technology is to be piloted this week.

Mr Burt added: “When phones that have WeHealth Bermuda installed are near each other, the app uses Bluetooth signals to determine how long and how close users were together.

“If a WeHealth Bermuda user tests positive for the coronavirus, they can privately share their diagnosis with the app.

“WeHealth Bermuda will then automatically send an anonymous Covid-19 exposure notification to anyone who was in close proximity long enough to be considered at risk of Covid-19 infection.”

Mr Burt said that Alexander White, the Privacy Commissioner, supported the approach taken by the app designers and the Government to protect the privacy and information of anyone who downloaded it.

Another app designed by students of a technology boot camp in Bermuda will be used for people to log their details when they enter places such as restaurants, bars and gyms.

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Published November 25, 2020 at 2:55 pm (Updated November 25, 2020 at 2:53 pm)

Covid-19: baby among four new coronavirus cases

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