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Second Covid-19 test lab operational

David Burt, the Premier (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

More than 900 tests a day for Covid-19 could be carried out now that two laboratories are up and running, it was revealed tonight.A Government spokeswoman said that the labs had the immediate ability to do 200 tests every day — and the number would increase more than fourfold when they were fully-staffed.David Burt, the Premier, added: “Today is a milestone in Bermuda’s fight against Covid-19.”He said: “Thanks to the hard work of the team at the Ministry of Health we are now able to dramatically increase the number of people who can be tested in Bermuda for Covid-19.“The increased testing capabilities means our testing throughout is enhanced as we see to combat this disease and gradually reopen our economy.“Testing is key to reopening our economy and we now have the capacity to test as many persons as we will need to.”Mr Burt added that the island now had 10,000 swabs and that 2,000 more test kits would arrive tomorrow and 10,000 test kits bought from the Cayman Islands would come in on the British Airways air bridge flight from London on Friday.He said: “The bottom line is Bermuda has sufficient testing kits and swabs to fully execute our aggressive testing strategy. “This next week we will focus on testing the right people, including healthcare professionals, our vulnerable in seniors’ homes, contacts of persons who have tested positive for Covid-19 and our essential workers.”Mr Burt was speaking after the Bermuda Government Molecular Diagnostic Testing Laboratory, to be run under the supervision of Bermudian scientist Carika Weldon, joined Helix Laboratory, operated by Desiree Spriggs on the front line of the battle against the coronavirus.He added that both labs had test kits and “additional supplies”. Mr Burt said: “Bermuda currently has the test kits to complete 800 more tests.” • To read the Premier’s statement in full, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”