Bermuda issues stay-at-home order to curb COVID-19 surge
Bermuda has issued a new stay-at-home order in order to curb a new spike of COVID-19 cases. Effective 5 a.m. on Tuesday and lasting for at least seven days, Bermuda will require that all residents and guests remain where they are.
During the shelter-at-home order, all businesses apart from supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations will be required to close, according to Bermuda's Premier David Burt. Additionally, some banking services will be allowed to remain open. All businesses can be open between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., as reported by the Royal Gazette.
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Tourists who are already on the island will be required to stay at their hotels, but they will be permitted to move around the premises. Across the island, masks and social distancing measures will be enforced.
"It is clear that the rate of spread is far more advanced than believed and the regulations put in place have not been enough to slow it down," Burt said. "We must act now as continued household mixing is leading to increased transmissions.”
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Five of the new cases are believed to be imported from travelers, including one from an American Airlines flight from Miami on March 31, one from a Delta flight from Atlanta on Thursday and three from an American flight from Charlotte on Friday.
In his address on Sunday, Burt said he didn't expect the seven-day circuit breaker to impact airport operations, though additional border measures are being considered and may be discussed at a new press conference on Tuesday.
Bermuda reopened to tourism in July 2020. Most recently, the country has required that all incoming passengers have approval for a Travel Authorisation, which will require proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than five days before travel.
The country's recent surge in COVID-19 cases is the highest it's seen since the start of the pandemic — and it's been primarily due to the U.K. variant of the virus, Burt said. In the past seven days, the island has reported 768 infections per 100,000 people, according to Reuters. It's now recording a pandemic-high average of 70 new infections each day.
According to Reuters, Bermuda has administered at least 41,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines — about 32.2% of the country's population. Burt said Bermuda has enough vaccines to get herd immunity on the island by the end of May.
Since the start of the pandemic, Bermuda has reported 1,891 infections and 16 coronavirus-related deaths.