COVID Cases Rise in Bermuda But Government Says Lockdown is “Unlikely”

Bermuda’s coronavirus (COVID-19) cases have shot up to 260 after nine new cases were confirmed over the weekend, but Health Minister Kim Wilson says a new lockdown is “extremely unlikely”.

Wilson told a press briefing on Monday night that measures would be implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus on the island after a recent increase in cases.

But she added a new shelter-in-place order was “extremely unlikely.

“It would certainly be a last resort. In March and April when we instituted the shelter-in-place, we didn’t know as much as we know now,” she said.

But she added that a shelter-in-place order was not out of the question if the public ignored the requirement to wear masks and keep a safe distance from others.

In all, 2,419 tests were carried out across the island, including 527 at Dellwood Middle School, which is one of a number of schools and offices temporarily closed because of COVID-19 infections.

HSBC Bermuda, the island’s largest bank, announced that its Somerset branch will close on Tuesday for the rest of the week because of a possible COVID-19 risk.

The increase in test numbers came after people flooded pop-up test sites over the weekend in the wake of a spike of on-island transmissions which included 38 new cases in the last 17 days of November. So far, almost 108,000 tests have been carried out on-island.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said two of the nine new cases came in from overseas.

Both were residents who returned to the island from New York on Saturday and tested positive on arrival. A further five cases were classified as on-island transmissions from known sources —  four from household contacts and one from workplace contact.

The remaining two cases are still under investigation as the patients had not travelled recently and had not had confirmed contact with identified cases or clusters.

One COVID-19 patient remains in hospital and 36 other active cases are being monitored by public health officials. A total of nine people have died here from the disease but none in the past six months.

The ministry spokeswoman said the seven-day average of Bermuda’s real-time reproduction number is 1.38 while the island’s current country status is “clusters of cases”.

CMC

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