Another five new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the latest round of 813 test results received by local health officials, bringing the total number of active cases up to 91.
All five were returning residents who arrived here from the United States, including one who arrived on a Delta flight from Atlanta last Wednesday, who tested positive on Day 4.
The remaining four tested positive on arrival last Sunday – two from New York and two from Miami.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Kim Wilson said 2,688 residents have signed up to get the vaccine, as plans to vaccinate up to 200 people a day get underway at the Vaccination Centre set up at the Police Recreation Club in Prospect, Devonshire.
Talks are now underway between Government House and Britain to get more supplies by the end January as the first shipment is expected to be used up by the end of March.
Speaking at the latest COVID briefing on Tuesday (Jan 12), Ms Wilson said she was “thrilled to have seen the very first COVID-19 vaccines provided” by the Ministry of Health team.
“The vaccine is the hope that we’ve all been looking for in the midst of this pandemic that has cost lives to loved ones, family gatherings, our activities, schooling of our children, and so many other sacrifices,” she added.
“As we begin the rollout of the vaccine, I know many in our community have been registering their interest. Thank you Thank you Thank you.
“It is so good to see much interest in getting the vaccine. Our vaccine strategy has been developed based on international best practices, and it has prioritized groups who are most at risk from getting sick from COVID-19.”
Premier David Burt extended condolences “to the family who, since our last press conference, so tragically lost their loved one in the latest COVID-related death”.
“We as a country must continue our collective efforts so that less families have to say goodbye to their loved ones before their time,” said Mr Burt.
“On behalf of the Government of Bermuda” he also extended condolences “to the families who have recently lost loved ones in two tragic incidents on Bermuda’s roads”.
He also noted that the COVID restrictions still in place “will be reviewed by Cabinet next week”
“However, at this time, there is no expectation that across the board closures will need to be extended,” he said.
“The Government is also aware of hardships that businesses and individuals are experiencing due to the restrictions that are necessary to control this outbreak. I reiterate the Government’s commitment to continue to support persons and businesses affected.
“The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation has provided grants to support businesses. These grants are to support rent, utilities, employers’ overheads [social insurance & health insurance] to assist businesses affected by closures instituted to control the pandemic. The grant amounts will now be increased due to the extension of the closures announced last week.
“In addition, individuals who work in establishments that are required to remain closed, and who were approved for unemployment benefits will have received additional payments from the Ministry of Finance last week following the extension of restrictions.”
Moving forward, he said: “There is no expectation of a further extension of across the board closures. The Government will continue to work with businesses to share information in advance regarding the precautions required for a safe reopening of businesses.”
In closing, Premier Burt also noted that Tuesday’s briefing marked “the first time in a few weeks” that the Government was able “to report no additional cases of local transmission”.
“Though we have successfully managed the recent outbreak, it is important to remember that since it started we have lost three Bermudians…Our collective decisions impact our fellow families.”