The following statement was released on Friday, February 4, 2022, One Bermuda Alliance MP, Michael Dunkley, the Shadow Minister of Health, in follow up to the announcements by the Minister of Health, Kim Wilson…

The One Bermuda Alliance was pleased to listen to the statements in Parliament today regarding to changes to COVID restrictions and requirements.  

While the Government has for weeks talked about learning to live with COVID the OBA released a statement weeks ago on the way forward. We are pleased that government has listened and made a number of changes we support.  

The first being the end of the SafeKey. We are pleased that it appears it will only be used potentially as a requirement in a small group exemption. The elimination of SafeKey effective today (Fri), February 4th, is a welcome relief for restaurants, gyms, charter boats, members clubs and other establishments.  

We are also pleased to learn that there will be a streamlining of border entry requirements. The OBA has called for the elimination or streamline of the Travel Authorization Application form and antigen testing to be used.  

Upon learning of the new requirements, we support the only testing a vaccinated resident or visitor will require to enter Bermuda is an antigen test no more than three days prior to travel.  

This means no arrival test, no day four test or any further tests. This is a good move as the TA and our testing regime has been an issue for travellers to the island. This change now takes away any competitive advantage other jurisdictions might have held over us.  

We also appreciate that the Minister of Health has agreed to meet with the parents who are concerned about their children wearing masks in the classroom. We look forward to an update. When not in the class, they are out in the playground together so if there is a way they can be adequately spaced in the classroom, perhaps masking in the classroom can be a personal choice for parents.  

It is important that we use everything we have learned to continue to combat any new variants of covid; simple acts like wearing a mask as required, controlling a bubble of friends and practicing good hygiene.  

Now that we have learned much about covid it is important to rebuild lives, our community and the economy. Our economy was not in a good position prior to covid under the PLP and it has slipped drastically since. Unless quick action is taken to stimulate it we will continue to see people leave the island, unemployment at high levels, violence and pressing mental health issues due to COVID.  

The Opposition is willing to support the Government, as we have generally with the changes announced today, but also rebuilding the island.