Two hours after it became official, Premier David Burt held a news conference at 9pm last night to confirm that the deadly coronavirus has made its way to Bermuda.
“The Government of Bermuda understands that this news will leave many residents concerned; and with questions,” said Mr Burt.
“We understand these concerns and want to reassure you that we are taking this development extremely seriously.
“This situation is still evolving,” he added.
“Right now, we know that two residents are confirmed to have COVID-19.
“The patients had recently travelled from the United States and United Kingdom respectively and became ill three days after returning to the island.
“The two cases are unconnected. Both individuals, who were identified early, are recovering and did not require hospitalization.
“They are presently isolated and have been isolated since they became symptomatic.
“The Ministry of Health is working closely with other ministries across the Government to rapidly investigate this situation and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Our chief concern is how many people had close contact with the individuals once symptoms developed.”
In that regard, we are currently taking the following actions:
· Making sure the individuals are receiving appropriate treatment and remain isolated;
· And interviewing the individuals and close contacts, such as family members, to obtain detailed information on their travel history and exposures and then monitoring the family members to see if they become ill. Currently they are self-quarantined. This may require collecting and testing specimens from those individuals.
“I want to reassure the public that the government has been actively preparing for an event like this as part of the International Health Regulations,” said Mr Burt.
“Thankfully we will have the ability to screen for COVID-19 on island tomorrow which will aid us in controlling any spread of this virus.”
In the weeks and months ahead, the Premier said ‘social distancing’ will be a key factor in the spread of this deadly virus.
“I want to encourage everyone in Bermuda to protect themselves to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory etiquette.”
· Washing your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water;
· Maintaining social distancing – maintain at least three feet distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever.
· And avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
“…And if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.
“Call ahead and tell your healthcare provider of your symptoms and travel history. If you have returned to the island it is URGENT that guest workers and Bermudians alike keep yourself quarantined,” said Mr Burt.
“As this is an evolving situation; I am committed to keeping you updated as we work together to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in Bermuda.
“In closing, I want to reassure the public that ensuring the health of our citizens is our top priority.
“The Government websitewill be updated this evening to reflect the two imported COVID-19 cases.”
- Feature Photos Courtesy of TNN