Bermuda’s Premier faced another sombre start to the latest government update on COVID-19 on Monday, with confirmation that this deadly virus claimed another life, bringing the total number of deaths recorded to five.
For the first time in quite some time, he was joined by the Minister of Health, Kim Wilson, the Minister of Labour Community Affairs and Sports, Lovitta Foggo, National Security Minister Wayne Caines and Chief Medical Officer, Dr Cheryl Peek-Ball, who was on hand “to answer any medical questions”.
“On behalf of the government and the people of Bermuda, and also my family, I extend my sincere condolences to the family of the person who passed away today (April 13),” said Premier Burt.
“Sadly, at these press conferences we refer to our fellow Bermudians as numbers or statistics which are to be reported. But these persons are far more than numbers and statistics.
“They are someone’s father, they are someone’s mother, they’re someone’s friend, and they’re someone’s family.
“Each of these individuals have been a part of the rich fabric of what makes us a country.
“We mourn with you, we grieve with you, and we will continue to redouble our efforts to ensure that we can limit the amount of future loss of life.
“The losses that Bermuda has experienced over the last few weeks underscores the importance of social distancing.
“As a country, we must stay home and move around as little as possible,” said Mr Burt.
“We must only leave our homes to visit the grocery store, pharmacy, or gas station for necessities, and not for a social outing.
“Staying in our homes may seem like a simple measure, but scientifically it is the most effective way to reduce the spread of a highly contagious disease.
“This Easter weekend the vast majority of Bermudians adhered to shelter in place guidelines, leaving their homes only for those essential items.
“However, the Bermuda Police Service continues to run into persons who are not taking these restrictions seriously, and there are continued reports of persons who are not doing what they should do.
“The overall aim of what we are doing, as a government in this shelter in place, is to save lives by limiting the transmission to ensure that we do not overwhelm our hospital, and the only way that we can do that is by people following the instructions and remaining home.
“I also want to remind everyone, giving thanks to the grocery stores, who have signed on and the other establishments that are requiring persons to have their face covered as they move inside,” he added.
“It is important that if you do go outside, if you are an essential worker if you are somewhere, please make sure that you wear a face covering.
“It is particularly important at this time, where there are persons who are asymptomatic transmitters of this virus.”
On that note he said: “I did receive a question where someone asked, what does asymptomatic mean.
“This means that you don’t have a fever, don’t have a cough, don’t have a sore throat, aren’t experiencing any symptoms whatsoever, and are feeling perfectly fine and healthy.
“However, you may be an unknowing carrier of the coronavirus. And if you are, you could, by an interaction with someone by
some reason you’re not sick so you ended up touching your mouth or something did not wash your hands, do not practice good hand hygiene and you managed to pass that on to someone else unknowingly.”
Based on the statistics reviewed so far, he said “there are persons who are asymptomatic who are carrying this virus”.
“That is why it is important for all of us to cover our faces when we go out in the public.
“This unfortunately is the norm in many countries around the world, and will soon become our new normal, as we work to make sure that we continue to combat this virus,” said Mr Burt.
“As a reminder, we should try to reserve surgical mask, or and N95 for healthcare workers, but wear any covering that you can.
“If you want to learn how to make the covering yourself, you can go on our website coronavirus.gov.bm for instructions on how to make your own face cover.
“If you subscribe to our government WhatsApp, you will have seen a wonderful video received today from the chief medical officer, where she discussed this very important issue,” he added.
“In closing. Lives have been lost. Families have been forced to say goodbye to loved ones for their time, and yet there are some persons on this island that seem to think that this situation of this pandemic is a joke.
I must stress again, that if you do not care about your own life, please show some compassion and respect for the lives of others,” said Premier Burt.
“It is clear that we can only stem the tide of COVID-19, if we remain calm, remain disciplined, and most of all remain united, recognizing that in this we are all our brother’s keeper, and the only way that we can keep our country safe is for all of us to do our part.”