Another 104 Bermuda residents touched down on a Travel Edge – Delta Airlines charter flight at LF Wade International Airport on Friday.

According to National Security Minister Wayne Caines: “The flight included local students and residents as well as individuals who have been abroad for medical treatment.”

Speaking at the latest COVID-19 briefing he said: “As with the previous air-bridge flights strict health and safety protocols were in place at the airport to ensure the safety of our Customs and Immigration Officers as well as the persons on the flight.

“We also had support staff on hand from the Royal Bermuda Regiment, Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service, Menzies, Delta Airlines, the Department of Health, Skyport and the Disaster Risk Reduction Mitigation (DRRM) team to assist the returning passengers during the disembarkation process.”

With the exception of the 18 returning residents granted permission to self quarantine at home, he said the remaining passengers will quarantine in the Government managed quarantine facility for 14 days.

The 18 exemptions were granted “either for medical reasons or due to the fact that they are underage”.

The Minister also noted that the charter flight was “thoroughly deep cleaned and sanitized” before it left for the US with 100 outbound passengers of varying nationalities.

“Amongst them are three (3) inmates from the Westgate Correctional facility who were incarcerated and who will now be deported back to the US,” said Mr Caines.

“I wish to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation to all involved for their dedication and service in ensuring the safe passenger processing of this flight.

“Special thanks to the DRRM team, our local Delta Airlines staff, our Customs and Immigration staff, the Department of Health, Skyport and our Regiment soldiers, who provided bus transportation for the returning passengers to the quarantine facility.”

As Phase One continues, he said the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) and the Royal Bermuda Regiment (RBR) will continue their community engagement to ensure the regulations are followed.

“We continue to observe broad cooperation from the vast majority of our community during Phase One,” he said.

“Additionally, businesses are complying with regulations and the BPS is enforcing the requirement of masks being worn in permitted establishments and by drivers acting on their behalf.

“Unfortunately though, the BPS has advised that over the last two weeks four persons were arrested for breaching the regulations.

“As we approach another weekend of Phase One, BPS and RBR resources are in place to manage recreational activity and ensure compliance with regulations.

“In addition, mobile advisory checkpoints will be in place.

“Again I urge the public to please be mindful of the guidelines in place. Any continual disruptions or breaches of the regulations could result in the Phase One period being extended.”

As the summer season approaches he added: “We’re mindful that residents will be taking to the beaches and water for recreational activities.

“Just a note of caution for those who will be in pleasure crafts this weekend.

“The Bermuda Coast Guard will be out in full capacity to enforce the Emergency Powers Regulations — specifically as it relates to the restrictions to recreational boating activity.

“We remind the boating public that no more than 10 passengers are permitted on a boat, all of whom must be members of the same household.

“Again, raft ups are prohibited, and the recreational boating curfew is 7pm not 10pm.

On a special note, the Minister said Friday, May 15 marked 50 days of enhanced Coast Guard operations.

“They have provided a tremendous and invaluable service over this period of time,” he said.

He also provided this “snapshot” of their activity:

  • The Coastguard has stopped and engaged 469 vessels.
  • Averaged 3 three Patrols a Day.
  • In collaboration with the BPS have executed five arrests.
  • Conducted one search and rescue operation; and
  • Supported Customs, Environment and Natural Resources and Bermuda Radio.

“I wish to extend my thanks to those who proudly serve in our Coast Guard Unit. Bermuda is well served by this addition to our security services,” Mr Caines said.

With regards to the recovery plan implemented by the Department of Corrections on May 4, he said: “There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 amongst staff or inmates.

“On-site inmate visits continue to be suspended; however virtual visits and phone calls to family/friends continue.

“Non-security staff are returning to work on a phased basis. Department of Correction staff will utilize the COVID-19 testing facility at Southside and some of our Health Services staff have been trained to conduct in-house testing.

“Staffing levels have not been impacted and staff continue to carry out their duties professionally despite the challenges the Island faces.

“The department continues to ensure that every effort is taken to mitigate any risks of COVID-19 affecting our staff and inmates,,” he said.

“The department continues to ensure it has the necessary PPE and other COVID-19 related supplies in stock. The supplies are issued as required in keeping with the Department of Health guidelines.”