Why hotel quarantine is necessary
The Covid-19 pandemic is far from over. The Delta variant is raging around the world and the unvaccinated are at particular risk.
This new mutated variant is highly contagious and is already leading to more hospital admissions, including for younger people. Delta is now the dominant Covid spreading in Britain, one of our key source markets.
This highly contagious and dangerous variant is now here in Bermuda.
Whether we want to admit it or not, around the world millions of people continue to get seriously ill and are dying, and we want to continue to protect Bermuda from having the same fate.
Thanks to our strict guidelines and shared sacrifice, Bermuda can now say it has Covid-19 under control. In Phase 4, we have largely reopened and most restrictions have been lifted. There is no curfew and groups of up to 100 people are now permitted to gather.
We must protect our population, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, from the spread of variants from other countries. Closing the borders is not an option, and the best way to secure our borders is through hotel quarantine.
We tried home quarantine. It didn’t work. People violated the quarantine, we saw a massive spike of the Covid-19 UK variant and Bermudians died.
Let’s talk about two Bermudas because that analogy is apt when it comes to this policy. The two Bermudas concept is rooted in the idea of structural disadvantage that privileges one group of people over another owing to historical racism and lack of equal opportunity.
When it comes to vaccines, there is an equal opportunity for everyone to take them free of charge. Access is not an issue, as transportation is provided to those who need it, so there are no structural barriers.
The two Bermudas is one of choice, not one of structural inequality. That choice is one that we acknowledge and respect. The reality is we also have to protect others who chose to accept the vaccine.
What some are asking for is the Government to condone putting the community at risk because of their personal choice — not because of a structural inequality.
Thirty-three people have died in our community from Covid-19. The Government has been forced to make tough decisions for the betterment of all of Bermuda, including ourselves. We live and operate under the same laws and restrictions as everyone.
The reality is, mandatory quarantine of unvaccinated persons will protect us from spreading this dangerous, contagious variant and prevents more deaths. As such, these new restrictions, one of which is mandatory quarantine in a government-approved facility, are necessary to keep the community safe.
We understand this isn’t easy. But we are working to protect the entire community, not just some.
• Lindsay Simmons is a government senator and the Junior Minister for Social Development and Seniors, and Home Affairs