Feature Photos Courtesy of TNN

With four deaths and a number of COVID-29 cases still under investigation, Premier David Burt has stated that to date, there is still no evidence of community transmission of this deadly virus in Bermuda.

Responding to questions by TNN at the most recent news conference on Thursday, Mr Burt said: “We do not have evidence of community transmission.

“Community transmission, as the Health Minister has indicated before is when you have a large number of cases.

“What we have in Bermuda are clusters of cases of local transmission. The nine new cases which have come in on the last few days, most of them are under investigation.”

The Minister of Health, Kim Wilson noted that the nine new cases were all identified on Thursday (April 9).

“The contact tracing has begun as well as the next of kin with respect to those persons. So that is an exercise that literally just begun because they were identified only a few hours ago,” she said.

Asked by TNN if after April 18, a 21-day lockdown was “on the table”, the Premier replied: “I’m not entirely certain how you could understand that that’s on the table if that’s not something that has been discussed.

“Of the nine new cases four of them are classified as limited local transmission, or local transmission, five of them are under investigation and out of the nine new cases, five of those nine new cases are hospitalised,” he said.

“Limited local transmission as we’ve said before would be either at the workplace or at home,” he added.

“I just want to be clear to everyone, I do not want this situation to continue indefinitely.

“That is not our intention and that is the reason why it is important that persons stay where they are to minimise the chance of the possible transmission of this virus to make sure that they are wearing face coverings when they are in public and to abide by the rules and regulations.

“We are going to be spending our time, the Cabinet will meet again on Tuesday and speak about what it’s going to take and require the rules and regulations in order to get our country and our economy back to a semblance of functionality,” said Mr Burt.

“This is not the ideal position that us, or any leader wants to find themselves in. But this is where we are at this point and time here in Bermuda.

“So the most important thing I would say for all of us to do is to ensure that we are observing the requirements which have been set up.

“With four deaths and if you look at the global rate that would imply that there’s a larger number of cases which you may not have captured or caught yet. That’s why it’s important that we implement more aggressive testing that people stay in place.

“I cannot express it enough. If you decide to go to the grocery store for your social outing recognise you may be putting your family at risk.

“It’s that simple.”

As for the numerous requests for exemptions during the Shelter in Place order he said it’s not going to happen.

“We’re not issuing blank exemptions. What we want people to do is to stay home.

“It defeats the purpose of having two persons from two separate households inside of the same space where they might be able to possibly transmit the virus. That is the purpose of what we are trying to do right now.

“The fact is that we had a very spirited discussion at our Cabinet meeting earlier and there questions about all forms of possible exemptions which have been asked for whether it be from pet stores to other particular items,” said Mr Burt.

“The position of the Government of Bermuda and the Cabinet of Bermuda is that we are not going to be allowing these exemptions because we have this for a particular purpose and that is for people to stay inside.

“There may be some minor updates to the particular guidance and regulations which have been put out but there have been requests for a lot of things and they are not going to be given and/or added to these particular requirements.

“I cannot express how delicate of a situation we are currently in right now and it is important for everyone if you care about your neighbours, if you care about your extended family, you will stay home.

“As we are able to get more and more supplies and as we’re able to bring additional testing things online, questions such as retesting people and testing people multiple times will certainly be part of the consideration of what it is we are doing,” he said.

“But the most important thing to do right now and the reason why everyone is being asked to be sheltered in place is for us to identify the change of transmission the change of transmission which currently exists for our confirmed cases, to get those persons tested and isolated and to ensure that we do not have multiple change of transmission that are going throughout the country.”