[Updated] The testing requirements for arriving passengers are set to change, with the day 10 test to be dropped, while the day 4 test will change from a PCR test to a verified antigen test.
Speaking at yesterday’s [Jan 13] press conference, Health Minister Kim Wilson said, “Currently, returning residents and visitors conduct a pre-test, test on arrival, another test on day 4 and day 10 using a PCR. This requirement will also change, and those travelling to Bermuda will conduct a pre-test, test on arrival and test on day 4 using a verified antigen test. No longer will a day 10 test be required.”
Short extract from the press conference with the Minister explaining the changes
These were part of a number of changes announced — with quarantine times also set to change — with the Minister noting that the “amendments to the Quarantine [Covid-19] [No. 3] Order 2020, referred to above, will take effect next week, 20th January 2022.”
Minister Wilson said, “We are trying to get back to some semblance of normalcy as we learn to live and cope with Covid-19. These changes to testing and quarantining are a welcomed transition for Bermuda and pivotal to our progress.
“But, please remember, reducing requirements does not mean that we are risk-free. We need to protect ourselves. We are all accountable for the health and safety of this community, and I encourage everyone to be extra vigilant and take personal responsibility for their health and safety. Do not go to work, events, school or any outings if you have symptoms or are positive and asymptomatic.”
The Minister added, “Another bit of good news for our arriving passengers, we will also soon begin antigen and PCR testing upon arrival at the airport for faster arrival test results. We do not have an exact date for this as we are working on the logistics now.”
The changes will, in effect, reduce the burden on the PCR testing system and also make the testing process less onerous for arriving passengers, both local and visitors.
Speaking during a recent BNV interview with Bernews – in response to a reader question about staffing challenges with testing – the Premier said that long term “we have to move to a place of sustainability when it comes to the coronavirus response”.
He added that the Bermuda Health Council will be issuing directions to “doctors’ offices, to pharmacists, to dental offices, to enable them to be able to administer supervised antigen testing throughout the country.”
“The testing backlog can’t just be on the government. If we’re going to move ourselves to a place of living with the coronavirus, there needs to be multiple spaces for access to testing throughout the country, and we’re going to make sure that happens,” he said.
Update 6.47pm: We asked the BTA for comment and Charles H. Jeffers II, CEO Bermuda Tourism Authority, said, “The Bermuda Tourism Authority has heard the frustration of our visitors and is delighted by the decision to ease testing requirements.
“We have advocated on behalf of the visitor for a more user-friendly, streamlined regime and this is a move in the right direction. We’re hopeful that the changes will position our destination more favourably for potential visitors as well as our cruise and airline partners.”