No new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in the latest update by Premier David Burt, who said there were no additional test results to report.

But he warned: “The days ahead may be uncertain.

“The future may seem darker than light, and the work to do seemingly impossible, but I know that I am not alone and none of us in this tiny island are alone.

“Many of our fellow Bermudians were already facing tremendous stress before the COVID-19 pandemic.

We recognize that the past few weeks of uncertainty, reduced incomes and the inability to move freely around our island during the evenings, have added to that stress,” said Mr Burt.

“The 14 days of Shelter in Place will be difficult for many of us. Support has been put in place to help families during this difficult time.”

In all, he said there were 33 test results outstanding.

Out of the island’s 35 confirmed cases, 14 people have recovered – four patients remain “hospitalized in stable condition”.

At last check just over 1,200 people were in self-quarantine.

Speaking at the latest news conference at the Cabinet Office, the Premier was joined by Governor John Rankin, Health Minister Kim Wilson, National Security Minister Wayne Caines and Dr Cherita Rayner from the Mid Atlantic Wellness Institute.

Governor Rankin said: “The Ministry of National Security, our Bermuda Police Service and the Royal Bermuda Regiment have played a critical role in helping our community to preserve law and order throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”

An “oversubscribed” British Airways flight from Britain would set off from Heathrow Airport on Monday morning to bring stranded residents home, he added.

Mr Rankin said the possibility of a second chartered flight was now being explored.

Monday’s flight will continue on to the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas. It will bring home about 140 Bermuda residents.

The Governor also urged family members not to attempt to meet their loved ones at the airport, which is closed.

As noted by the Premier already, all arriving passengers will be required to go into mandatory quarantine at a government monitored facility.

Mr Rankin also noted that testing packs giving the hospital more than 1,800 tests will arrive on the aircraft, in addition to a  consignment of personal protective equipment.

National Security Minister Wayne Caines laid out “key operational guidelines” to be imposed during the Shelter in Place order that went into effect today (April 4).

Shopping at grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will be permitted based on surnames in alphabetical order.

For last names A through K, the permitted days will be Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Last names L through Z are permitted to shop on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Sundays will be reserved for seniors.

Dr Cherita Rayner also discussed “how we can cope” and “the resources available to assist, if at any point, any of us need additional help and support”.

Premier Burt also covered “topics of an emerging homemade mask industry in Bermuda” and the “repatriation flights for persons from the US”.

In an update from the Ministry of Public Works, he also ntoed that the public drop off at Tynes Bay closed at 7pm Friday for two weeks.

“Remember the objective of Shelter in Place is for people to stay at home as much as possible,” he said.

“Regular trash collection will continue. but the objective is for persons to stay at home.”

“In closing, as a government, we have approached this pandemic not from a place of wishful thinking, nor from a place of fear.

“We have recognized the cold hard facts of this situation, and with the advice to our medical professionals have treated this as a war for the very survival of our country.

“Yet through it all, we have all surveyed hopeful that through decisive and reasoned action, we will emerge from this global pandemic even stronger and more resilient as a people.

“Tomorrow, life will change dramatically for Bermuda,” said Mr Burt.

“The declaration of a state of emergency, the first in over 40 years, and the institution of a Shelter in Place order for 14 days from 6am, this Saturday represents a new necessary level in our collective war protect the health and safety of our community.

“Each of us now has a choice. We can take these days and be selfish, disregard the laws in place to protect all of us, and place yourself and others in jeopardy.

“We can take these 14 days to engage in unhealthy behavior or binge watch Netflix.

“If we make any of these choices, we will still emerge no better, no stronger, and no wiser than when we began the Shelter in Place Order.

“Instead, let us choose to do what we can and all support each other to use this time in a positive and productive manner. The world post COVID-19 will be unlike anything we have seen. Some economists are warning that the global economy will be as bad,if not worse, than experienced during the height of the Great Recession.

“Some of the jobs that had been lost, may be lost forever. Some of the skills that have provided an income for ourselves and others may cease to exist.

“I encourage each of you to use these 14 days wisely. If all of us see this as an opportunity to learn, to grow, to evolve and to strengthen, we’ll be better positioned as a people for a post COVID-19 world. If all you’ve gained from this time is weight, that will be unfortunate.

“Take advantage of the internet’s resources, learn a new skill, train, work, grow. Yet growth does not have to be limited to enhancing skills. It can be used to deepen your spirituality, strengthen ties with loved ones, or do those chores around the house that you haven’t had a time to tackle, or simply use this as a time to refresh, renew and rejuvenate for the days to come.

“Someone recently said to me that I had become your Premier in one of the most difficult times in our country’s history, and they remarked that they did not envy the burden that myself or our government has had to collectively bear. I can say that I have never been more humbled than I am today for the opportunity you have given me to serve,” said Mr Burt.

“Thank you. Be safe. Be well, be blessed. And let us all work together to ensure that Bermuda emerges from this a stronger, better, smarter, and positioned to set an example for the world.”

The next such press conference was to be held on Monday.

  • Top Feature Photo & Lower Inset Courtesy of TNN