Bermuda hopes to enter phase two of its COVID-19 response plan in coming days, including reopening retail establishments with strict physical distancing and personal services such as hairdressers and barbers, also with strict restrictions governed by the Ministry of Health.
The cabinet is also considering bringing forward some measures that had been intended for phase three, although further details are not yet available.
David Burt, Bermuda’s Premier, said the government will procure a technology system to enable strict enforcement of home quarantine, which he expects will be operational by mid June. This will allow government quarantine facilities to close, and paves the way for the reopening of air travel, allowing the government to more closely monitor new arrivals.
Bermuda is also looking at other COVID-19 related apps that will help the country manage the pandemic, but will not rush into making any decisions, Burt said. “Countries around the world are racing to pilot and test new and unproven technologies that can help address the challenges presented by the global pandemic,” he noted.
“There is no need to be the first in this particular instance,” he added. “Unfortunately, on the market right now, there is no one single app that does everything and as such, we are watching each country and the solutions they pilot for insights to guide our efforts.”
Burt noted that Bermuda is conducting its own internal pilots of bluetooth and GPS contact tracing technologies, but stressed the limits of what technology can achieve on its own. “Before rolling out these forms of solutions, it is critical that we ensure that we have public understanding and participation, as they require a significant proportion of the population to participate in order for them to be effective,” he stressed.
As at May 16, Bermuda Bermuda had 123 total confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, of which 41 remain active. Nine people have died of the virus in Bermuda.
COVID-19, David Burt