BTA: Bermuda still safe despite CDC stay away warning
Bermuda still has a reputation as a safe country despite a warning by US health authorities that Americans should steer clear of the island after a jump in coronavirus cases, the head of the Bermuda Tourism Authority said yesterday.
Charles Jeffers II, the BTA chief executive officer, said the island had taken the right steps to tackle the crisis after the Centres for Disease Control raised Bermuda’s Covid-19 risk status to Level 4 – “very high” – on Monday.
Mr Jeffers said Bermuda had prioritised the health and safety of residents and visitors with “innovative tools and safety protocols”.
He added: “The Bermuda Government’s stringent border protocols, including quarantine for unvaccinated travellers and a frequent testing regime, have been proven to be an effective component of the island’s strategy.
“In fact, during this outbreak less than one per cent of travellers tested positive while on island, demonstrating that Bermuda is safe for vaccinated travellers.”
Mr Jeffers highlighted that many hotels had used the SafeKey system for staff to help cut coronavirus transmission and that most travellers who visited the island said they felt safe.
He said: “BTA visitor exit surveys have shown that 96 per cent of visitors felt safe from Covid-19 during their visit and cited Bermuda’s safety protocols among the top three reasons influencing why they chose Bermuda.
“The tourism sector is a vital part of the Bermuda economy with the livelihoods of thousands of Bermudians reliant on its success.
“We cannot afford to abandon this vital driver of our economy and the key is to safeguard the health and safety of everyone on our island by adherence to public health guidance.”
Almost 90 countries are included in the CDC’s Level 4 category – places which have logged more than 500 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the previous 28 days.
The Ministry of Health confirmed on Monday that the island had more than 1,500 active coronavirus cases.
The CDC website warned US travellers: “If you must travel to Bermuda, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.
“Because of the current situation in Bermuda, even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading Covid-19 variants.”