Premier: Obey the rules and Bermuda will survive outbreak
Bermuda will ride out the current coronavirus outbreak if residents adhere to the restrictions put in place last month and follow SafeKey guidelines, the Premier said today.
David Burt also urged people to report operators of indoor venues who failed to adhere to the Covid-19 rules to the police, saying they were putting the community at risk.
In answers to written questions submitted earlier this week by The Royal Gazette, David Burt said the outbreak had been caused by people ignoring the restrictions and holding large gatherings, including a superspreader raft-up held one day after the new rules came into effect on August 21.
The full Q&A can be found here.
Mr Burt also revealed that 336 vaccinations were administered in the last week and that new vaccines were due to be flown in by the UK Government this week.
Mr Burt said: “I can confidently state that if persons observed the guidelines that were put in place on August 20 by the Government, the situation would not have escalated to this state.
“We will continue to have cases of the Coronavirus for the foreseeable future, and it is vital that all persons who have not been vaccinated speak with their doctor about being vaccinated and register on gov.bm so they can be protected against severe coronavirus disease or death.”
Mr Burt also ruled out further restrictions being put in place, saying: “The restrictions in place now are deemed appropriate.”
He also seemed to downplay warnings by the health minister, Kim Wilson, that the outbreak was close to becoming unmanageable, saying: “We believe that the adjustments that have been taken along with continued community compliance will allow the burden to be relieved on the healthcare system.”
Mr Burt maintained that gatherings that had official large group exemptions and applied SafeKey rules had not spread Covid-19, but unofficial gatherings had.
He said: “The restrictions announced on August 20 would have been effective in reducing the spread had they been followed.
“On the day after those regulations came into force there was a large raft-up which resulted in many persons testing positive, seeding further spread. The Government has heard of numerous cases and many in the public know of scenarios where the laws put into place at the time were not followed.”
Mr Burt added: “If you are attending an indoor venue and the proprietor is not following the rules, staff are not wearing masks, they are not checking SafeKey correctly, that means you could be in an unsafe environment, and you are putting yourself at risk, especially if you are not vaccinated.
“You should choose to patronise somewhere else and also call 211 to report the violation of the law. As a community, we must all play a part in stopping transmission, and it's vital that we hold individuals and businesses accountable for following the rules needed to keep the community safe. The police cannot be everywhere, so we must all as a community, do our part.”
He also denied that Government had given up on reaching vaccination herd immunity: “We have continued to push, the drive never stopped, unvaccinated persons, continue to sign up, and we continue to vaccinate persons. We will continue to encourage persons to protect themselves and their loved ones.”
He added: “We have seen an increased pace of vaccination over the last 30 days, compared with the period before. We are also partnering with the Pan American Health Organisation in the coming weeks on a joint vaccination project stressing the importance of getting vaccinated.
“There were 336 vaccinations within the last week, 192 of them on Saturday alone. There are more and more persons registering for the vaccine. Government House has confirmed another shipment of vaccines will be sent to Bermuda this week.”