Premier David Burt

Bermuda is “moving to another phase in our efforts to protect our borders and reduce the risk of importation of possible COVID-19 cases and to contain the possible spread of this disease”.

This from Premier David Burt, in his latest national address last night (March 16), to provide an overview on the island’s preparations for this deadly virus.

But he warned: “It has been said that in times of crisis, truth is the first casualty.

“Rumours are flying rampant, creating panic and a drain on human resources. This is not helpful. I strongly discourage the spreading of false information which may incite fear and panic in the community.”

On that note, he said: “I am confident that Bermuda will stay united, we will stay calm, we will all take sensible precautions, we will help each other, and together we will overcome this.”

As of today (March 17), all passengers arriving in Bermuda “will be required to self-quarantine”.

“This was a difficult decision as it essentially shuts down our borders and our tourism industry, but controlling community spread of Covid – 19 and preserving the safety of our Bermudian people is paramount,” said Premier Burt.

But the good news remains the same – as of March 16, he said there were “no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bermuda”.

“All suspected cases to date which we have received results for are negative, with many persons testing positive for the flu,” he added.

“International shipping lines remain open with regular shipments of food and supplies continuing throughout this situation. I can also confirm that we have contingencies in place in the unlikely event that this is disrupted.”

While “testing continues to be performed at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (Carpha) facility in Trinidad”, he said: “The Government is investigating all options to increase the speed by which we can test and receive accurate results.”

Meanwhile, COVID-19 testing kits have been ordered, “and a private jet is on standby to bring them to Bermuda as soon as they are ready to ship and we expect that we will have on-island testing capability later this week”.

The Premier also reiterated a reminder that “the most effective way to contain the spread of COVID– 19 is to practice proper hygiene, engage in frequent, proper handwashing, maintain social distancing and if you are feeling ill or on self-quarantine, please stay at home”.

“If the preventative and containment measures recommended by the government are not followed it could lead to the overwhelming of our medical system and the deaths of friends, family and neighbors. Together we must do everything we can to avoid this situation.”