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Two new Covid-19 cases from Atlanta flight

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Two new cases of Covid-19 came to the island on Monday's Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta, the Government revealed.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said the two were found in the latest round of 555 tests for the virus.

The cases brought the island's total confirmed cases of the illness to 156 with six active cases under public health monitoring.

Ms Wilson warned against unnecessary travel, saying abrupt schedule changes could leave residents stranded overseas.

She added that travel would also present increased chance of exposure to the coronavirus.

Returning residents will be required to quarantine for at least four days if they could not obtain a test for the virus before they return home, the health minister said.

And she added that returning residents working in high-risk workplaces, such as care homes and corrections facilities, would have to quarantine for 14 days and get cleared for Covid-19. Staff in medium-risk settings such as retail could choose between 14 days quarantine, or three negative test results.

Those in low-risk settings, such as remote and office workers, require compliance with the normal traveller testing regime, Ms Wilson said.

The news came as David Burt, the Premier, said the island should celebrate the Cup Match holiday — including the first Mary Prince Day — but warned that the challenges are not over.

Mr Burt said: “We are certainly going to be in for a period of economic difficulty, so our celebrations must be tempered with the reality of what is to come.”

He added: “With two more imported cases, Covid-19 is still very much a factor in our daily lives, and we must remain strong, vigilant and united as a country to keep this virus at bay.”

Sounding a note of optimism, the Premier said tourism would increase over next month, with more hotels opening for business and more residents returning to work.

He said he expected demand to almost triple, from 345 to 948 rooms, and he understood that “some hotels are full over the Cup Match weekend”.

Mr Burt said flight schedules for the near future were still in the air, as airlines adjusted their plans, but he was pleased with the progress the island has made so far.

He said: “Some airlines were expecting to put on more flights, Delta are cutting back from seven days a week to five, Air Canada is not increasing their schedule that much.

“British Airways is adding a flight and of course, daily JetBlue flights will make a difference.”

The Premier urged the public to do what they can to support the local tourism sector and highlighted that Bermudians spend $300 million a year on international travel.

Mr Burt added: “If that money is able to be spent inside of our economy, it will be a great support for our hotels, our local restaurants and our local retailers.”

Renée Ming, the Minister of National Security, said her ministry was prepared for the long holiday and police would be highly visible on the beaches and the roads.

She said: “Even though we won't be celebrating the annual cricket classic this year, it's still a holiday.”

Ms Ming urged approved gatherings of more than 50 to follow safety protocol and warned revellers that the Bermuda Coastguard and its reserve will police waters over Cup Match, 24 hours a day, up to 12 miles from shore.

Raft-ups are allowed, but cannot exceed 50 people, and masks must be worn if distancing is not possible.

Jet skis are prohibited from Paradise Lakes in the Great Sound, and Mangrove Bay, Somerset Long Bay and Cambridge Beaches at the West End, from 5am on Thursday to 11pm on Sunday.

There will also be sobriety checkpoints by police.

Ms Ming said: “At all times, practise the appropriate health and safety measures such as physical-distancing, mask-wearing and proper hand hygiene.”

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said both the Ministry of National Security and the Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 had “struggled with requests for large gatherings”.

The press conference heard that there had been 14 requests, with seven approved.

Colonel Burch said camping in parks would be allowed from today through Monday, but Coney Island would be off-limits to campers because of damage to the bridge to the island.

He added that bonfires and excessively loud music would not be permitted, and beaches would remain closed to horses and dogs.

Colonel Burch said liquor-licensed establishments would be required to close at midnight, but that the restriction would be reviewed.

To view the statements from the Premier, Minister of Health, Minister of National Security and Minister of Public Works, click on the PDF links under “Related Media”

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Renee Ming, the Minister of National Security, and Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works and head of the Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Graphic by Christina White
Graphic by Christina White

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Published July 29, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 29, 2020 at 9:05 am)

Two new Covid-19 cases from Atlanta flight

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