A special meeting of the Cabinet will be held on Sunday to chart the way forward on what will be included in the second phase of reopening Bermuda’s economy in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the latest COVID-19 briefing on Friday, Premier David Burt said phase two of the ‘New Normal’ could start before next weekend.
Moving forward, he said: “We stated that our intended expansion of services would include the reopening of retail establishments with strict physical-distancing and limited allowance of personal services, such as hairdressers and barbers, with strict restrictions governed by the Ministry of Health and personal protective equipment use to be required.
“I can confirm that this list may be expanded and will, perhaps, contain some elements originally proposed for phase three.
“What I have stated above, however, will be at a minimum of what Bermuda can expect to be the essential elements of phase two,” he added.
“It is my intention that phase two will commence before next weekend, but this will be confirmed by the Cabinet on Sunday.”
Meanwhile, another 244 test results came in on Friday with only one positive result, bringing the total number of active cases of COVID-19 in Bermuda to 123.
A total of 68 people have fully recovered and the number of people in hospital battling this virus is down to seven, with two in critical care.
The number of deaths remains at nine.
The Minister also noted that 39 of the tests came in from abroad and 72 were on-island transmissions through a known contact.
Seven people contracted the disease from an unidentified contact and another five cases were still under investigation.
The unknown contact cases were not enough to take the island to the status of “community transmission”, which was earlier said to be when experts could not connect a large number of new cases to confirmed cases, the Minister added.
“This is as good as an outcome as we could have hoped for in the midst of a global pandemic.”
To date, 37 people were hospitalised due to COVID-19 – the highest number of patients at any one time was 16.
Collectively, some 536 hospital and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute patients have been tested for the coronavirus, including the patients in two long term care wards.
Within the next month, the Premier stated technology to track “strict enforcement of home quarantine” will be introduced.
“This new technology solution can also support the move to regular scheduled air travel as persons will be required to quarantine upon arrival,” he said.
As the Government monitors the development and use of apps to combat the spread of this deadly virus in other countries “with a keen eye”, he said there will be no rush to implement new technology.
Internal pilots on Bluetooth and GPS-based techniques designed to help contact tracing are now underway.