Governor John Rankin says Bermuda and other British Overseas Territories will be supplied with a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine by authorities in London once one becomes available.
“I am pleased to inform you that the UK government has agreed to supply the Overseas Territories from the COVID-19 vaccines that it procures – demonstrating again the UK’s commitment to supporting the people of the Overseas Territories in difficult times,” Rankin, who steps down as Governor at the end of November to take up a similar post in the British Virgin Islands, told Hamilton Rotary Club on Tuesday.
The pandemic was among topics Rankin covered as he looked back on his tenure as Governor, having arrived in the island in December 2016. His successor, Rena Lalgie, director of the UK’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation at the Treasury, will be Bermuda’s first black and female Governor.
Rankin highlighted the benefits to Bermuda during the pandemic because of its links with Britain.
“In addition to expert advice, the British government has provided substantial material assistance to Bermuda through the supply of COVID-19 testing kits and personal protective equipment, in addition to helping to find the two repatriation flights which allowed Bermudians in the UK to return home.
“The supplies provided, numbering in tens of thousands, have included PCR tests, surgical masks, digital thermometers, swabs, gloves, aprons and laboratory consumables.”
He said the total assistance given to the island since the start of the present financial year had topped £1.33 million (US$1.73 million).
Rankin told Rotarians he was “delighted” to learn that Bermuda had been downgraded by the United States Centres for Disease Control to the “very low” COVID-19 risk category – an “excellent” result and thanked Lee Rizzuto, the US Consul General, as well as “colleagues at the British Embassy in Washington” who had lobbied the US State Department on the subject.
The island’s confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 194 on Tuesday after a resident who returned to the island from London on a British Airways flight on October 22 failed the day four test — the ninth person to produce a positive result in the past week.