Wed | May 27, 2020

Bermuda’s COVID-19 cases rise to 37 as lockdown starts

Published:Sunday | April 5, 2020 | 9:34 AM

HAMILTON, Bermuda, CMC  – Health officials on Saturday announced two more confirmed cases of COVID-19 , bringing Bermuda’s total to 37, as the island began a 14-day lockdown designed to stem the coronavirus that has already claimed the lives of more than 64,000 people around the world.

Both new patients are in hospital, along with four earlier ones.

All six are said to be in a stable condition.

The news came after 25 test results came back, 23 of which were clear.

More test kits are on their way from London.

A government spokeswoman said: “Out of the 37 total cases, 14 people have recovered. There are 17 active cases under active public health monitoring.”

She added the two new cases were under investigation to establish how they caught the disease.

The average age of the confirmed positive cases is 47 and the age range is 18 to 83.

Older victims appear to have been hit harder as the average age of people treated in hospital is 74, officials said.

A total of 22 men and 15 women have contracted COVID-19 in Bermuda.

The spokeswoman said: “A review of our overall testing numbers shows that out of the 291 tests that were conducted, 37 are positive, and 227 were negative and 27 are pending results.

“As of today, there are 439 persons who are under self-quarantine with public health supervision.

“In line with new guidance issued by the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ministry of Health is now advising the use of cloth and homemade face masks is recommended for all persons whilst in indoor public places to protect others from possible infection.”

It’s reported that streets in Hamilton as well as beaches, parks and sports grounds were all empty after the two-week shelter-at-home restrictions started at 6:00 a.m.

Shopping habits will be strictly regulated.

National Security Minister Wayne Caines said only limited movement would be allowed, a policy enforced by police officers and the Royal Bermuda Regiment.

Visits to grocery stores and gas stations from Monday will be allocated alphabetically by surname, with people with last names from A to K permitted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

People with surnames from L to Z will be allowed to shop on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Sundays have been reserved for seniors aged 65 or over, although they can also use other days based on their surnames.

Visits to pharmacies will not be subject to the last-name system.

Governor John Rankin has said 1,800 virus test kits will be on a British Airways charter flight from Heathrow Airport on Monday, organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and which will bring around 140 stranded Bermudians, paying £500 (US$613) a head,  home from Britain.

The flight will continue on to the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.

Rankin said another flight from the UK was planned as Monday’s flight had been oversubscribed.

A charter flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida is due in on Tuesday with more stranded Bermudians aboard, but Bermuda’s L.F. Wade International Airport is not expected to reopen for regular flights before May 1 at the earliest.

Education Minister Diallo Rabain announced on Thursday that all government schools would reopen on April 20, but a day later the ministry made it clear they would only do so when health officials gave the go-ahead.

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