File Photo: Department of Communications

Premier David Burt appealed to the island’s residents to “take collective action” to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus in Bermuda, which has claimed four lives.

In his latest update on Thursday, he said: “I have to remind all persons that the Shelter in Place Order is there for a reason.
“We must take collective action to stop the spread of this virus, which has already taken four persons from us.
“We each have to do what we can to keep our island safe, and you do this by following the rules and remaining on your property.”
He also noted that this Good Friday would be like no other in recent years.
“Normally we’ll be out enjoying our friends and family, while eating hot cross buns and fishcakes.
“You can still do that, but you must do it at home. No you cannot go to your cousin’s house, your siblings or your friend’s house to collect your usual order.
“This year we have to sacrifice for the greater good, and stay at home, recognizing that this is just for a time, and we will get through it.
“But if we do not follow these directions, more persons will, unfortunately, succumb to this illness,” said Mr Burt.
Photo Courtesy of TNN

“As I’ve indicated before, once the Shelter in Place Order is lifted, we will be able to enjoy our traditional festivities, which we’ll observe on another date in our calendar.

“But I say to all persons, that it is not the Premier of the country, the Ministers of the Cabinet, or even the elected officials that can make the difference in this situation.
“It is everyone working collectively together.
“Stay at home, only leave your house for essentials, and make sure that you are observing social distancing guidelines.
“These outings are not social opportunities.
“You go, get only what you need and then return home. That’s it.
“We are asking that individuals only go by themselves.
“And we’ve seen that that is not being observed. And we’re asking people to be mindful, as any additional resources that are strained with our police and Regiment make us collectively, less safe.”
Moving forward, he said the Ministry of Health “will be issuing new guidance to all essential service workers that are out doing, and conducting essential services that they must wear a mask in public”.
“Persons who are not abiding by those particular rules, those businesses will not be allowed to provide any essential services.
“It is important to remember that the general public should not use surgical or N95 masks if possible, as there is a global shortage of these masks and they’re best reserved for healthcare settings.
“However, please, if you’re outside cover your face and the instructions, on how to make your own face cover,” said Mr Burt.
“As we all learn to navigate the world we didn’t anticipate and the things we have taken for granted are no longer immediately accessible, our levels of stress and anxiety, coupled with uncertainty has left many of us in need of additional support.
“We know that this pandemic has brought many new experiences and complications to many, and I share those concerns of the toll which this is taking on so many of our families.
“And this is not what the Government of Bermuda wanted to do at this time, but it is unfortunately necessary in our drive to save lives.”
If you need someone to talk to a new hotline has been created by dialing 543-1111, you will have access to a qualified, experienced mental health practitioner, to talk to, if you’re feeling anxious, sad, overwhelmed or stress,” he added.
“This line will be open starting tomorrow, from 9am to  9pm, seven days per week. This hotline is available in addition to our existing COVID-19 hotline where you can continue to get advice to your questions and general concerns.
“The difference is that this new hotline is about helping support our communitys emotional well-being, as we negotiate the day to day challenges of managing this pandemic.
“The government is grateful for the support of the third sector crisis response effort for coordinating the work and the Bermuda Psychological Association for stepping forward to manage this new hotline.
“We’re also thankful for the contributions of the Bermuda Hospitals Boards, psychiatry department and operations team, the Mid Atlantic wellness psychology division, Bermuda Government public officers and Bermuda Health Council for making this a reality.
“I extend my sincere thanks in advance to the many health professionals who are helping to staff the emotional well-being hotline.”
The new emotional well-being hotline number which opened today from 9am to 9pm will be open seven days a week. The number to call is 543-1111.
For other general queries, you are welcome to call the traditional hotline at 444-2498.
The Ministry of Health will be sending out an update on Saturday.
The next news conference will be held on Monday.
In the interim, the Premier added: “I sincerely hope that you take this time this weekend to connect with your family and your friends, and for those persons who follow in the Christian faith.
‘I wish you happy Good Friday and Happy Easter holiday.”