Bermuda Health Minister Kim Wilson has put the blame for skyrocketing coronavirus (COVID-19) cases largely on the shoulders of the unvaccinated.
In addition, the US-based Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised the island’s risk to its highest level.
“This behavior is irresponsible and puts a lot of people at risk,” Wilson said, telling the public “your individual choices impact us all, and as I have said before, we’re all in this together, and we must work together to end this outbreak.
“Unfortunately, the current outbreak is being predominantly driven by members of the Bermuda community who are not vaccinated.”
Sixty-six percent of the island have been fully vaccinated, but the number of people going for their first jab has slowed to a trickle in recent weeks.
Buses have been off the road since last Friday and ferry service will also be affected on Tuesday amid COVID-19 health and safety fears among unionized staff.
The CDC on Monday warned travelers not to visit Bermuda after the significant rise in COVID-19 cases. The announcement came after the island was moved to Level 4 – “very high” risk – on the CDC’s travel advisory list.
Chief executive officer of the Bermuda Hotel Association (BHA), Stephen Todd said the move was “disappointing news” for the tourism sector.
“Clearly, all efforts are being locked on trying to calm this fourth wave and hopefully that will be successful in the days and weeks to come. The hotels have experienced some cancellations in terms of overall bookings, which is not totally unexpected as we, along with other destinations, are being watched very closely,” Todd said.
Bermuda is waiting for a fresh shipment of vaccines from the British government so older residents can start receiving their booster shots approved by a health committee on the island.
The island suffered a tourism blow at the weekend when officials called off the 2021 World Triathlon Sprint and Relay Championship to be staged here next month because of the spike in COVID-19 cases, which are now close to 5,000.