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Video: Press Conference On Covid-19

[Updated] Premier David Burt is holding a press conference this evening [March 13] to update the public on Covid-19.

Update 6.49pm: We will have full information later on, but in the meantime a quick summary. The Premier said there are no confirmed cases in Bermuda at this time, but taking steps to prevent any possible community spread. All Government public events will be cancelled for the next 4 weeks, and event organizers/sporting bodies who are scheduled to have events with more than 50 people are urged to postpone their events.

Update 8.02pm: Premier David Burt said, “Good evening.

“As I indicated in my remarks yesterday, it is important that we learn the lessons from other countries that are managing actual confirmed cases and taking clear steps to protect their citizens. This Government is determined to do all that we can to prevent harm to our local population. We do not have a confirmed case in Bermuda, but we must, and we are preparing for a worst-case scenario and take steps to reduce the potential for any unknown community spread.

“Following a Cabinet meeting this afternoon, and based on recommendations from the Minister of Health and the Minister of National Security, and to ensure public safety, I can confirm that all Government public events will be cancelled for the next four weeks.

“Additionally, we are urging event organizers and sporting bodies with anticipated gatherings of more than 50 people, to postpone their events.

“We are at the beginning of the weekend when Bermudians of all walks of life attend churches and engage in faith-based activities. We are strongly recommending that churches encourage and adopt appropriate social distancing as part of their services and events.

“Recognizing that this virus has a greater impact on seniors and those with pre-existing health conditions or compromised immune systems, such persons must consider that it is best for them not to attend large public events and gatherings. With the Minister of National Security, our aim is to meet with church leaders early next week to discuss how we can together implement a safe approach to ensuring the continued spiritual attention to their congregations.

“Again I would like to repeat.

  • “All Government events for the next 4 weeks, will be cancelled.
  • “We are urging event organizers and sporting bodies with anticipated gatherings of more than 50 people to postpone their events.

“These decisions are not taken lightly. We have looked at the economic and social ramifications. However, the health and well-being of Bermudians is the most important consideration.

“We are imploring all Bermudians to be extra cautious as they move about the island this weekend and over the next few weeks.

“If you are sick, please stay at home; do not visit others and ask others not to visit you.

“To business owners, please put in place the highest health and safety standards for your workers and your customers.

“A further decision about government offices and Government schools will be made over the next few days. However, consideration is being given to bringing the Easter break forward by a few weeks.

“The Minister of Education was in the House of Assembly during the Cabinet Meeting, and there will be further consultations with him following this press conference.

“During yesterday’s press conference, I mentioned the term social distancing, and it is important as we must curb our natural affinity to shake hands, kiss and hug on greeting each other whether in our workplaces, churches and places of entertainment.

“Now I know that there are a number of persons who would like to know and understand precisely what is taking place on our borders. Effective yesterday, the Minister of Health issued a travel ban, and this prevents the entry into the country of individuals who have been in Italy, China, South Korea and Iran in the past 14 days.

“Additionally, anyone, as I announced in the House of Assembly today, who has been in either France, Germany or Spain will be on the level 2 list of countries and that will mean that they will require a mandatory 14 day quarantined and a travel notice and a warning will be issued.

“The United States and the United Kingdom remain level three at this time, which requires active self-monitoring for 14 days, however, this may change on the basis of international advice. Discussions will be held with the UK Government and the US Consul General.

“One of the reasons that I was late for this press conference is because I was on the phone with His Excellency the Governor.

“There are many questions regarding on island testing. Tests kits and testing equipment have been ordered, and the Government will arrange a private aircraft to collect that equipment so that we do not have to wait for shipping to happen. However, given the global shortage of testing kits, we will not be able to have wide scaled testing for a few weeks, which is why it is essential to maintain our social distancing and our hygiene.

“The Government has increased cleaning inside of Government offices, there is increased cleaning when it comes to public transportation, and in the city, public health agencies are working to ensure that in this country we flatten the curve.

“As I have said previously, it is important that we do all we can to ward against community transmission in the event that we may have Covid-19 on our shores.

“I have said it many times, and I must say it again:

  • “Thoroughly wash your hands frequently using soap and water, if you are unable to use soap and water, use hand sanitizers;
  • “If you cough, please do so into your elbow or a tissue
  • “Disinfect surfaces frequently, and
  • “Avoid close contact with anyone displaying cough and fever symptoms.
  • “If you have a cough or a fever – please stay home. Do not go to your doctor’s office, do not go to the hospital; call your doctor. If you do not have a doctor, please call the hospital.

“What is most important is that we remain calm. There are many countries that have successfully battled this virus, and it one of Bermuda’s desire to be one of those particular countries.

“That is the reason why we have taken these actions to date, and we are continuously meeting throughout the weekend to make sure that if there are any actions that are required due to the rapidly changing international situation, those changes will be communicated to the public.“