Video: Press Conference On Covid-19

March 12, 2020 | 29 Comments

[Updated] Premier David Burt is holding a press conference this morning [March 12] regarding the Covid-19 coronavirus.

We will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime, the live video is below.

Update: Some of the Premier’s key statements included:

  • I have directed that all non-essential travel be cancelled for members of the Public Service and all Public Authorities.
  • Testing kits have been ordered and are expected on-Island next week
  •  Additional items such as personal protective equipment, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and temperature monitors to support our health services and to augment our border protection activities are en route.
  • There is a need now for us as a community to exercise sensitivity and adopt different practices in our everyday lives. We will have heard the term ‘social distancing’, and it is something we must now adopt.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 15-minute replay is below

Update 2.10pm: Premier Burt said, “Earlier today, I attended a meeting of the Public Health Emergency Response Team [PHERT], which has been meeting regularly since the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.

“Led by the Ministry of Health, as of last week Monday this body mirrors the EMO structure, with which we are very familiar, and brings together all relevant agencies to coordinate our efforts at preparing for this urgent public health crisis.

“There has been a daily flow of information to the public as we are determined to learn early lessons from those countries where the virus is spreading more rapidly, and there are recorded cases of both seriously ill persons and, unfortunately, deaths.

“The principal objective of today’s meeting was to confirm the plans and identify any additional resource needs of all agencies in preparation for the worst-case scenario. As we watch the rest of the world combat the various issues that arise as a result of the aggressive spread of the virus we have the opportunity to be nimble and develop plans that will mitigate the impact on Bermuda.

Press conference on COVID-19 Bermuda March 2020 (1)

“There are some realities for which we must prepare even if things do not reach this point for Bermuda:

  • 1. I can confirm that last week, the Government of Bermuda has secured the capability for employees to work remotely in the event that we may need to require public officers to work from home;
  • 2. The Ministry of Education has an existing plan for health-related events like this which is being revised in the event that we will need to deliver the curriculum to students outside of the traditional school classroom setting;
  • 3. Later today the Minister of Finance will be meeting with the Bermuda Banking Association, and additionally, the Minister of Finance and I will meet with hospitality, local and international business representatives to ensure both business continuity in the event of a worst-case scenario as well as fair and equitable treatment for workers who may be impacted by Covid-19;
  • 4. I have met with the US Consul General and the Governor to confirm our requests through diplomatic channels in the USA and the UK for additional equipment for use by our first responders and the general public; and
  • 5. I have directed that all non-essential travel be cancelled for members of the Public Service and all Public Authorities.

“Following today’s meeting, I am pleased further update the public on actions taken to provide localized testing for Covid-19.

“Testing kits have been ordered and are expected on-Island next week. The ability to test and have faster results is critical to mitigating the risk of community spread of the virus.

Press conference on COVID-19 Bermuda March 2020 (2)

“Many additional items such as personal protective equipment, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and temperature monitors to support our health services and to augment our border protection activities are en route. The Minister of Finance has made necessary funding available to support these preparatory stages and any further measures that may be necessary.

“At this time the Civil Service Executive is meeting, and as part of its agenda for today, the leadership of the Public Service is ensuring that all plans are in place and in a state of readiness to protect Public Service employees who, in many cases, provide frontline services interfacing with the public.

“Daily updates are being released by the Government, and yesterday’s update indicated that we are awaiting additional results of tests for Covid-19 and our hope is that those tests too will be negative.

“Irrespective of the results, there is a need now for us as a community to exercise sensitivity and adopt different practices in our everyday lives. We will have heard the term ‘social distancing’, and it is something we must now adopt.

“We will all need to curb our natural affinity to shake hands, kiss and hug on greeting each other whether in our workplaces, churches or places of entertainment. We must be prepared to do all that we can to ward against community transmission in the event that we may have Covid19 on our shores. The best way to protect our families and loved ones is for all of us who call Bermuda home to be vigilant in our actions.

Press conference on COVID-19 Bermuda March 2020 (3)

“In addition to practising social distancing, there are some key messages that I must re-emphasize in the interest of public safety, every Bermuda resident must:

  • 1. Thoroughly wash your hands frequently using soap and warm water, if you are unable to wash your hands, use hand sanitizers;
  • 2. If you cough, please do so into your elbow or a tissue
  • 3. Disinfect surfaces frequently, and
  • 4. Avoid close contact with anyone displaying cough and fever symptoms.
  • 5. If you have a cough or a fever – please stay home and call your doctor, if you don’t have a doctor call 239-2009. Do not go to your doctor’s office.

“If there are Covid-19 cases detected on our shores that cannot be traced to recent travel history, there may need to be further action to limit the spread of the virus; this may involve postponing events & gatherings. However, those decisions will be taken based upon the advice of our public health experts.

“We are committed to keeping the public informed and to ensuring that we employ all of the means at our disposal to keep Bermuda and the people who live and work here as safe as possible in the light of this rapidly changing situation.

“I urge members of the public to follow the official notices from the Government at www.gov.bm/coronavirus. This site contains the latest statistics and is the source that residents should use for official information from the Government of Bermuda. Daily notices are also available on the TreeFrog app, which can be downloaded on your mobile phone and are being shared on all Government social media accounts.

“In closing, stay calm. This is a time for unity and collective action. It is a time to reinforce the sensible steps necessary to minimize any possible transmission in Bermuda to keep our loved ones safe. The coronavirus is a threat, but there are examples of many countries around the world that have taken strong action to minimize that threat. I am confident that together, Bermuda will do the same, and our unity in this time of challenge will be our strength. Thank you.”

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Comments (29)

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  1. bluenose says:

    Premier Burt didn’t show good example when he was hugging and kissing a Centenarian this past weekend. smdh.

    • Kayla says:

      They’re adapting now which is the main thing.

      • bluenose says:

        Adapting like holding a Town Hall Meeting when gatherings are being discouraged? Oh. Okay.

    • TO NINA:

      Well..do take a good look at our nearest neighbour. Trump has NO IDEA of anything.
      Hahaha!!!
      What are you doing about sharing your information, EXPERT????

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        “Trump has NO IDEA of anything.”

        Not true! Trump is banning the importation of Corona from Mexico to stop the virus!

    • Well BLUENOSE:
      I am super delighted that YOUR oba was squashed to shreds!!

      • Sandgrownan says:

        Things are so much better now aren’t they? Almost 20 years of incompetence, bigotry, homophobia and failure. Quite the legacy.

        Idiot.

      • bluenose says:

        My OBA? Just holding the current Government accountable. Why don’t you?

    • Stop says:

      Well anyone who is 100 don’t have long left anyway so what difference does it make? Stop complaining

  2. Nina says:

    You are not taking aggressive action to slow the spread, despite saying that you are. You are taking passive action until a case has been declared positive. Aggressive action is being proactive, not reactive. This attitude is terrifying.

  3. Jack Archer says:

    I listened closely and it concerns me slightly that we do not seem to be taking tough decisions and planning for the worst.
    Take shipping, the Premier said shipping routes are not affected but where is the planning in case they are?
    He says precautions will be taken for government workers but where is the plan to ensure the continuation of government services?
    No decisions on sporting events, but surely with athletes due to arrive from around the world for the carifta games and the triathlon we should be saying now: nope, sorry they are cancelled.
    With a big economic hit coming, I heard nothing to say that Government has a financial contingency plan.

    • sandgrownan says:

      There is no financial contingency plan. Bermuda is already hanging on a thread economically, this just makes it worse. At least they can blame it on something else now.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        “At least they can blame it on something else now.”

        Just like the financial crisis of 2008 handily came along at the right time (and its ‘ongoing effect’ ) !

  4. Sara says:

    Shut the borders to travelers asap!

  5. blah blah blah as usual

  6. Cow Polly says:

    looking at the pictures, there is zero social distancing going on …

  7. Madame Reid Street says:

    If the money stops coming in – he will have to come down town next week and make payroll for my retail business, that would be protecting the workers… problem arises that there may be no work. If a single major hotel has to close, then we’ve totally had it. That’s a lot of payroll and rent not being paid… So let’s pray this thing goes away as fast as it seems to be coming. Good luck Government, I don’t envy you.

  8. Jerry says:

    the wait and see approach will be to our detriment

  9. Vortex says:

    The issue is they haven’t tested anyone – only 8 people. No wonder the numbers look good!

    Its more Putin than Trump.

    Massively out of their depth.

    • Mark says:

      Don’t worry – once Wilson wrecks our Health Insurance everyone will be in the same boat!

  10. Concerned Bermudian says:

    Stop ALL travels to and from Bermuda. Keep us safe before it’s too late unless it already too late. Come on Gov grow some balls!!!

    • Bermie says:

      I completely agree! Give people a final travel date to either leave or return, which should be soon, and then stop all further travel (aside from emergency medical situations). Otherwise, we will eventually find ourselves in the same mess that other countries are currently in. Assuming there will be no confirmed cases (perhaps after a period of quarantine just to be sure), hotels can then offer deals for locals, maybe restaurants too, etc. so that we can keep supporting the economy during the travel ban.

  11. Give them a break says:

    They are handling a fluid situation as best they can.

    Far better than the US at this point.

    The GVT is being clear with its approach and is communicating with the public.

    • Mark says:

      Are you Onion Juice in disguise? This Government is about as ready as a wet sock. Case is point – the press conference looks like a typical photo shoot whereas they should be limiting numbers and distance. They are too scared to call the Triathlon or Carifta so as of now its up to the individual athletes, sports bodies or way smarter governments to withdraw. As for their search for a quarantine centre how about the Cabinet Office, clearly not much else goes on there.

  12. enough says:

    The Closed Elbow Beach hotel is an ideal quarantine site. plenty of rooms all with their own bathroom. Government can pay whomever owns it that way they are making some money and the Government looks like they are actually doing something. Believe me stop being complacent because when it hits our shores it will hit with a vengance. Can the hospital really cope with an epidemic on the Island, i have my own views and the answer is no. Close our borders and keep us all safe, no-one is travelling anyway.

  13. Bill says:

    I arrived back on the island on Wednesday evening on AA flight from Miami.

    No nurses seen, no questions asked about our health.

  14. Charlly X says:

    Shut Down the Airport ! Close the Gates !

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