As of Friday, Bermuda’s LF Wade International airport will be closed for incoming flights for two weeks with schools shutdown as of today (March 19) until April 6 – cargo flights will not be affected.

The island’s public transportation system – the bus and ferry service have been suspended until April 6 as Bermuda grapples with the onslaught of COVID-19.

Transportation managers will provide guidance to all Public Officers throughout the course of the day today.

The announcement came after Premier David Burt held a news conference at 9pm last night to confirm that two passengers, who arrived separately on commercial airline flights from the US and the UK had tested positive for the deadly corona virus.

One passenger arrived on American Airlines Flight 308 on March 4 – the other passenger arrived here on British Airways flight 2233 on March 6.

Premier Burt also stated that Bermuda’s seaport is closed to visiting vessels. But essential cargo operations bringing food, medicine, medical supplies and other essential goods will still continue.

Government workers who are not directly involved with the Covid-19 management and operation will work from home until April 6th.

The Royal Bermuda Regiment was embodied at 7pm, to provide support to emergency personnel.

All principals, teachers and staff at public schools were advised to report to work this morning “to finalize transition plans for remote learning for students”.

“Bermuda College will not have classes tomorrow or Friday but classes will resume on Monday using the online environment. All Bermuda College employees are asked to report to work,” said Premier Burt.

“The following Legal Affairs departments: National Drug Control and Child and Family Services, residential treatment services will remain in operation. All other departments in the Department of Legal Affairs will have reduced operations.

“Private businesses are encouraged to ask their employees to work from home, if possible. Otherwise work schedules should be staggered to minimize the number of people in the workplace,” he added.

“Bars, restaurants, and other social establishments are strongly urged to scale down their operations from tonight and enforce social distancing. Essential retail outlets will continue to operate, such as food and medicines and there will be specific guidance issued to all retail establishments tomorrow following the COVID-19 EMO meeting.

“These actions are drastic, but we are taking them in order to confirm that there is not community spread of Covid-19 in Bermuda.

“Bermuda will be impacted financial and socially, however, the health and welfare of our people is the most important consideration,” said Mr Burt.

“Given that we will have the ability to screen for COVID-19 on island starting on Friday, we will be able to quickly asses the risk and ensure that we contain this virus.”

Passengers on board either of the two flights carrying the two passengers who tested positive for COVID-19, were also urged to be proactive during their self-monitoring period.

“There are many questions in the community about the flights the two individuals who were confirmed with Covid-19 traveled on.

“The two individuals who have confirmed positive for Covid-19 were on American Airlines Flight 308 on March 4 and the British Airways flight 2233 on March 6.

“If you were traveling on either of those flights here is what you should know.

“For those of you who were on the March 4 flight, your self-monitoring period ends today. If you were on the flight on the March 6 your self-monitoring period ends in two days on March 20.

“If you have not been unwell during this period, there is nothing else for you to do. If you have respiratory symptoms, contact your doctor. Explain that you were on one of those flights and you want medical guidance.

“Do not go to your doctor’s office or the hospital. Please call ahead.”

Government has also set up a 12-hour COVID-19 helpline to provide support to those who may have concerns and questions about this disease.

The phone number is 444-2498.

The helpline will be operational as of today from 9am to 9pm.

“This is a time for us to show our strength as a community. This is a time for us to do what we must to protect our country. This is a time for us to show responsibility by following the stringent self-quarantine measures which are put in place to protect us all.

“We have seen what has happened around the world with this virus, and we must all work together to prevent that from happening here in Bermuda. Rest assured your government is working around the clock, and together, if every Bermudian resident does their part, Bermuda will come through successfully, I have no doubt. Thank you.”

  • Top Feature Photo Courtesy of TNN