Clear tests mandatory for arriving visitors
The Government has made it mandatory that visitors to the island have a clear pre-departure coronavirus test if they are travelling from a country with community transmission of Covid-19.
Officials said if they did not have a clear result, they would not be given travel authorisation to come to Bermuda.
The new rule came into effect on Saturday.
Residents have been advised to get a pre-departure test, but they can still fly to Bermuda without one.
But they will be required to take a PCR coronavirus test on arrival and to quarantine for three days before taking further tests during their first 14 days back.
The requirement for a clear pre-departure test applies to visitors from countries that include the United States, Britain and Canada.
The Government said the change was made in an effort to cut the chances of Covid-19 being brought to the island.
A Ministry of Health spokeswoman said: “Having a pre-departure test increases the chances of catching a positive case, ideally before it is imported.
“Other countries are not doing as good a job of managing the virus and we want to ensure that we are keeping our island safe.”
The clear test rule for visitors was not at first made “in order to transition in people” who had booked travel before they knew about Bermuda's testing requirements.
But the Government said enough time had now passed that visitors should know they needed to book a pre-travel test.
Visitors will also be tested on arrival, and be required to have tests on Day 3, 7 and 14 of their stay, if applicable.
The Ministry of Health and the Department of Tourism and Transport have been working with airlines on the rule change.
The health spokeswoman said: “The change in policy was made to the website and communicated accordingly. It became effective on July 11 to give travellers and airlines time for implementation.”
But a pre-departure Covid-19 test and result inside the three to five-day time frame required could be a problem in some places.
The Royal Gazette asked if the ministry believed there was a possibility that difficulty in obtaining a pre-departure test result would affect passenger numbers and the viability of flights.
The spokeswoman said: “The Government has been communicating the need for a pre-departure test prior to reopening the airport to commercial flights.
“Due to the challenges of obtaining timely test results in some countries, we are discussing with our tourism partners if any more refinements to the policy can be made such as extending the time from three to five days to three to seven days to allow for persons to receive results, or broadening the types of tests that the Government may accept.”
• Details about the requirements for travellers to Bermuda are posted at www.gov.bm/coronavirus-travellers