David Burt, Bermuda’s Premier, has admitted his disappointment about the speed with which the island is ramping up its testing regime.
He said: “No one is more disappointed than I am, when we have not been able to test as aggressively as I know that we need to. It has been an uphill battle to ramp up testing, full of disappointments.”
Burt added: “From the beginning of this pandemic, and even before it was declared as such, I've been convinced that the only way to adequately respond, and make it through this pandemic is to test, test, test.”
Bermuda received 17 more test results on April 22, revealing one more positive case of COVID-19, taking the number of confirmed cases to 99.
However, the government is hopeful that the island’s ability to test and identify those with COVID-19 will rise rapidly. April 24 will see the launch of a multi-lane drive thru facility at Southside that will begin to test our essential workers.
Burt admitted the stress of taking decisions on which peoples’ lives depend weighed on him every day, and hit out at his political critics, who “seek to return to the pre-COVID-19 atmosphere of petty politics as usual.” He said he is not interested in scoring political points or looking for a political advantage. “Our sole interest is in saving and preserving lives,” he said.
Burt said Bermuda’s fight against COVID-19 is tantamount to being at war. “We need all hands on deck,” he said. “The old way of telling young, educated, intelligent, talented Bermudians that they are not good enough, that they need to stand on the sidelines and they need to take their talents elsewhere to make a meaningful contribution is over.”
The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) is providing small and medium sized business (SMEs) with sustainability and business continuity packages, using $12 million in funding from the government. It is also providing SMEs with loan guarantees and overdraft guarantees for a total of $24 million in support.
BEDC has received requests for support from over 150 businesses.
David Burt, COVID-19