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September 2021: Grim news as coronavirus cases go up and GDP falls

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A tropical storm watch was in effect for Bermuda as Hurricane Larry approached from the southeast. Pictured- Warwick Long Bay (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Hurricane Larry swept past Bermuda but left the island largely undamaged.

The hurricane packed sustained winds of 92mph and brought rough seas in its wake.

September also saw the grim death toll of Covid-19 continue to climb as the number of active cases topped 1,500 for the first time and new restrictions were imposed.

Deaths from Covid-19 overwhelmed the hospital’s morgue and refrigerated containers were pressed in to service to cope.

R Scott Pearman, the deputy chief executive officer at the Bermuda Hospitals Board, said: “The increase in deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic is a tragic situation for many families, first and foremost, and we feel deeply for the grief and pain so many are feeling in our community right now.

“The high numbers are also putting pressure on the individuals and organisations who would normally support the process from death to burial or cremation and this includes BHB.

“Our concern is having enough space for all the deceased given the high numbers of deaths we are experiencing.

“We have already exceeded our regular morgue capacity and are using refrigerated overflow containers.”

Kim Wilson, the health minister, said that a fresh outbreak of Covid-19 was caused in part by “people going to work with actual symptoms”.

The minister said she “reluctantly” conceded the island was in the grip of its fourth wave of infections.

Schools kept remote learning going as pupils started the new term and children who were in the classroom were told to wear masks.

The traditional Labour Day celebrations became a victim of Covid-19 after organisers called off the event.

The day, held on the first Monday in September, is in normal times marked with a march through Hamilton by members of the island’s unions.

But officials were forced to scale back the event because of the pandemic.

Bermuda’s Gross Domestic Product – everything the country earns – fell for the fifth consecutive quarter as the public health crisis continued to take a toll.

GDP contracted by 4.3 per cent to $1.68 million, adjusted for inflation.

Bermuda marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US with special memorial services.

The Bermuda Industrial Union and the Government came to an agreement which ended a long running bus dispute.

The House of Assembly streamlined the process for long-term residents’ applications for permanent residence.

The changes proposed by Jason Hayward, the labour minister, opened a route to residency for non-Bermudian divorced people and unmarried parents of Bermudian children who had spent more than 15 years on the island.

Children of Permanent Resident’s Certificate holders were also given a pathway to security.

Permanent Resident’s Certificates are available to non-Bermudians who have spent more than 20 years on the island at a cost of $10,000.

A golfer on the PGA Tour in the United States took to social media to attack Bermuda’s strict rules to contain the coronavirus.

Charlie Beljan, a 36-year-old American, was scheduled to join the 132-strong field for the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course – but balked at the requirement for vaccination or a quarantine period.

King Edward Memorial Hospital (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published December 31, 2021 at 7:52 am (Updated December 31, 2021 at 9:51 am)

September 2021: Grim news as coronavirus cases go up and GDP falls

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