Bermuda at “the end of the beginning” with shelter in place set to be lifted on May 2

30-04-2020

David Burt, Bermuda’s Premier, has declared that Bermuda is “at the end of the beginning” in its fight against COVID-19, with the government deciding not to renew the shelter in place order that expires on May 2.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said Bermuda’s suppression measures are working, with the island avoiding succumbing to widespread community transmission.

Burt said the decision to end the shelter in place had been taken with scientific advice, and advised people to continue social distancing as far as possible. 

“Social or physical distancing is more than just words,” Burt said. “It is key to our survival and it will have to be our new normal and it will not cannot change for the foreseeable future.”

From May 2 it will no longer be illegal to visit another household, though Burt stressed people should still avoid doing so as far as possible, especially to the homes of vulnerable people. A curfew will remain in place between the hours of 10pm and 6am.

People may not gather in groups of more than ten people, and retail businesses and restaurants will only be permitted to open between the hours of 7am and 9pm, with only curbside service, or home delivery.

However, schools will remain closed and no commercial flights will be available from L F Wade International Airport. All of the businesses that were closed in late March, such as gyms, bars, salons, spas and barbershops, will remain closed.

Burt stressed the speed at which the remaining restrictions are lifted will depend on the path of future COVID-19 transmission, which will depend on Bermudians continuing to maintain a high level of social distancing.

Bermuda has conducted 2,197 COVID-19 tests and has identified 111 cases of the virus in total. Of 636 tests processed in the day leading up to the most recent government briefing, only one new case was identified. 

Included in the figures, Bermuda has tested 118 care home residents and 149 staff members from five different care homes. Of these, 226 have come back negative and 41 positive, with 22 cases from care homes representing asymptomatic individuals.

Wilson said she was confident that Bermuda’s “status remains at ‘local transmission’, with clusters of cases.” 

Wilson emphasised the importance of tracking contagion, noting Bermuda has steadily increased its capacity for contact tracing by recruiting staff from other areas in government to assist these efforts. Bermuda now has six groups of five contact tracers tracking the spread of the virus. The government will oversee the training of additional essential workers in contact tracing, Wilson said.

David Burt, Kim Wilson, COVID-19

Bermuda Re