Thu | May 28, 2020

Bermuda to ramp up testing after two COVID-19 deaths

Published:Tuesday | April 7, 2020 | 12:56 PM

HAMILTON, Bermuda, CMC – Premier David Burt says Bermuda will be “significantly ramping up” its testing after reporting the island’s first two deaths from the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe.

Speaking during a news conference late Monday, Burt said it saddened him to announce Bermuda’s first two victims, although he did not release their identities.

Bermuda is currently under a 24-hour lockdown for two weeks.

In addition to the two deaths, Burt also announced two more confirmed positive cases, bringing the island’s total to 39.

Burt said 17 people have fully recovered and six are in a stable condition in hospital.

Four cases remain under investigation.

A “middle-aged individual passed away” over the weekend, and had shared a household with someone previously identified as carrying the illness.

Burt said the patient appeared “not to be in good health generally”, but said the death would be investigated by the coroner.

The second fatality was a senior who had been in hospital and was one of the cases identified on April 4.

Burt said the patient was stable on Sunday but died on Monday.

One of the new COVID-19 cases is now stable in hospital.

The patient flew home on a March 13 Delta Air Lines flight but had not shown symptoms on the plane.

Burt said: “All the days have been tough. The day I had today was not as tough as it was for families who are grieving.”

He said his stress rose when “there are so many persons who believe that the rules do not apply to them.”

Minister of National Security Wayne Caines urged the public to minimise their movement as much as possible, saying there were still people going out who were “not taking this seriously.”

Two men, aged 31 and 61, appeared in court on Monday on charges of breaching curfew regulations and were bailed to reappear at a later date.

As of Monday, there are 52 people under self-quarantine with public health supervision, but the number swelled as 129 stranded residents returned to the island later in the day aboard a British Airways charter flight from London’s Heathrow Airport that continued on to the Cayman Islands with 59 of its residents aboard, according to Government House.

The flight will leave Cayman on Tuesday and return to London via Nassau, where it will pick up more British nationals.

Monday’s charter was due to bring in 1,800 COVID-19 test kits as well as personal protection equipment that will help Bermuda’s fight against the virus.

Governor John Rankin said: “I am pleased that we have been able to provide this assistance, helping Bermudians to get back home to their loved ones at this difficult time.

“I am similarly glad that we have been able to deliver testing kits and personal protection equipment to support the island’s medical services, building on the assistance already provided by Public Health England.”

The charter flight will also deliver a UK advisory team to the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) to provide medical, operational and security expertise to support the territory’s government in tackling coronavirus.

Medical supplies to TCI have been sent separately through cargo channels and will arrive imminently, Government House said.

The flight was part of the British government’s overall support for overseas territories and the wider efforts to ensure the safety and security of UK nationals worldwide.

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