A Ministry of Health spokeswoman confirmed last night that 17 travellers who recently returned to Bermuda were mistakenly sent home to quarantine because they “did not fall within categories exempted from mandatory hotel quarantine”.
According to the statement, those categories include “unaccompanied minors or the medically vulnerable and their caregivers – and therefore should not have been sent home”.
This after two residents tested positive for COVID-19 in the latest round of 5,967 test results received by the Ministry.
Both returning residents tested positive on arrival here on Tuesday on a British Airways flight from London.
The Ministry spokeswoman said the travellers who were mistakenly allowed to go home had since been told they must transition to designated hotels for the rest of their quarantine as required by law.
She also stated that the Government will pay for their hotel stay, transpoirt them to their hotels and the travellers will be tested, with contact tracing to follow any positive results moving forward.
There are currently 12 active cases on island with no patients in hospital and five people have recovered since the last update.
The 14-mandatory quarantine for non-vaccinated travellers at a government approved hotel at their own expense went into effect on June 6.
Meanwhile, the aunt of one of the travellers in question posted on Facebook that her niece received a letter from the Government three days after her arrival, notifying her of the error.
“If it was an error, why didn’t it raise any bells at the airport? There was a woman at the airport going through the queue asking who had exemptions,” the aunt wrote.
The Ministry spokeswoman stated last night that teams were working “day and night” to keep the island’s borders secure.
“We are grateful for the compliance of those travellers in this circumstance,” she added.
In the interim, she said the Ministry has contacted all of the travellers involved via telephone to advise them to make the transition to quarantine hotels for the balance of the hotel quarantine as required by law.
All expenses related to the quarantine hotel will be borne by the Bermuda Government, she added.
“The Government will provide transportation to ensure that the 17 travellers can be transported safely to the hotels, and we apologize for this unfortunate oversight which has caused additional stress during this difficult time.
“Travellers will be tested, and the results of those tests provided to them in accordance with the testing requirements. Any positive tests will enable us to commence contact tracing.”