Video: Press Conference On Covid-19

March 13, 2020 | 25 Comments

[Updated] Premier David Burt is holding a press conference this evening [March 13] to update the public on Covid-19. We will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video is below, and all our coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic is here.

Update 6.49pm: We will have full information later on, but in the meantime a quick summary. The Premier said there are no confirmed cases in Bermuda at this time, but taking steps to prevent any possible community spread. All Government public events will be cancelled for the next 4 weeks, and event organizers/sporting bodies who are scheduled to have events with more than 50 people are urged to postpone their events.

Live video replay

Update 8.02pm: Premier David Burt said, “Good evening.

“As I indicated in my remarks yesterday, it is important that we learn the lessons from other countries that are managing actual confirmed cases and taking clear steps to protect their citizens. This Government is determined to do all that we can to prevent harm to our local population. We do not have a confirmed case in Bermuda, but we must, and we are preparing for a worst-case scenario and take steps to reduce the potential for any unknown community spread.

“Following a Cabinet meeting this afternoon, and based on recommendations from the Minister of Health and the Minister of National Security, and to ensure public safety, I can confirm that all Government public events will be cancelled for the next four weeks.

“Additionally, we are urging event organizers and sporting bodies with anticipated gatherings of more than 50 people, to postpone their events.

“We are at the beginning of the weekend when Bermudians of all walks of life attend churches and engage in faith-based activities. We are strongly recommending that churches encourage and adopt appropriate social distancing as part of their services and events.

“Recognizing that this virus has a greater impact on seniors and those with pre-existing health conditions or compromised immune systems, such persons must consider that it is best for them not to attend large public events and gatherings. With the Minister of National Security, our aim is to meet with church leaders early next week to discuss how we can together implement a safe approach to ensuring the continued spiritual attention to their congregations.

“Again I would like to repeat.

  • “All Government events for the next 4 weeks, will be cancelled.
  • “We are urging event organizers and sporting bodies with anticipated gatherings of more than 50 people to postpone their events.

“These decisions are not taken lightly. We have looked at the economic and social ramifications. However, the health and well-being of Bermudians is the most important consideration.

“We are imploring all Bermudians to be extra cautious as they move about the island this weekend and over the next few weeks.

“If you are sick, please stay at home; do not visit others and ask others not to visit you.

“To business owners, please put in place the highest health and safety standards for your workers and your customers.

“A further decision about government offices and Government schools will be made over the next few days. However, consideration is being given to bringing the Easter break forward by a few weeks.

“The Minister of Education was in the House of Assembly during the Cabinet Meeting, and there will be further consultations with him following this press conference.

“During yesterday’s press conference, I mentioned the term social distancing, and it is important as we must curb our natural affinity to shake hands, kiss and hug on greeting each other whether in our workplaces, churches and places of entertainment.

“Now I know that there are a number of persons who would like to know and understand precisely what is taking place on our borders. Effective yesterday, the Minister of Health issued a travel ban, and this prevents the entry into the country of individuals who have been in Italy, China, South Korea and Iran in the past 14 days.

“Additionally, anyone, as I announced in the House of Assembly today, who has been in either France, Germany or Spain will be on the level 2 list of countries and that will mean that they will require a mandatory 14 day quarantined and a travel notice and a warning will be issued.

“The United States and the United Kingdom remain level three at this time, which requires active self-monitoring for 14 days, however, this may change on the basis of international advice. Discussions will be held with the UK Government and the US Consul General.

“One of the reasons that I was late for this press conference is because I was on the phone with His Excellency the Governor.

“There are many questions regarding on island testing. Tests kits and testing equipment have been ordered, and the Government will arrange a private aircraft to collect that equipment so that we do not have to wait for shipping to happen. However, given the global shortage of testing kits, we will not be able to have wide scaled testing for a few weeks, which is why it is essential to maintain our social distancing and our hygiene.

“The Government has increased cleaning inside of Government offices, there is increased cleaning when it comes to public transportation, and in the city, public health agencies are working to ensure that in this country we flatten the curve.

“As I have said previously, it is important that we do all we can to ward against community transmission in the event that we may have Covid-19 on our shores.

“I have said it many times, and I must say it again:

  • “Thoroughly wash your hands frequently using soap and water, if you are unable to use soap and water, use hand sanitizers;
  • “If you cough, please do so into your elbow or a tissue
  • “Disinfect surfaces frequently, and
  • “Avoid close contact with anyone displaying cough and fever symptoms.
  • “If you have a cough or a fever – please stay home. Do not go to your doctor’s office, do not go to the hospital; call your doctor. If you do not have a doctor, please call the hospital.

“What is most important is that we remain calm. There are many countries that have successfully battled this virus, and it one of Bermuda’s desire to be one of those particular countries.

“That is the reason why we have taken these actions to date, and we are continuously meeting throughout the weekend to make sure that if there are any actions that are required due to the rapidly changing international situation, those changes will be communicated to the public.“

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Comments (25)

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  1. Vortex says:

    If they are planning on closing the border, they MUST give as much notice as possible.

    Hundreds of kids overseas in UK, Canada and US that cannot be left stranded.

  2. Toadinthehole says:

    Not a fan of burt but he does seem to be stepping up for this, good man

    • So what is Craig b!+@#ing and complainig about!!!!!!!!!!

      • campervan says:

        shut de island down LMFAO

      • campervan says:

        You are the tiresome individual who constantly hollered “shut de island down LMFAO” well well :-)

      • sandgrownan says:

        Oh, my favourite simpleton, you just don’t get it do you.

        It’s not so much Burt’s comments, they were fine albeit a little late. Noting that Bermudians are not known for their haste. The issue is this: After almost 20 years of PLP induced economic decline and fiscal incompetence, there is no fat in the public finances. This means we have no capability to ride out this crisis, no ability to provide a financial safety net…in short we’re broke, and people will suffer because of it.

        And this is all on the PLP. They own this, they are responsible, they are in charge, they are the status quo.

  3. Vern says:

    The people most at risk are the ones with previous health conditions!!
    Diabetes and Obesity are 2 of them, we have our fair share off them here. We all need to understand the challenges ahead and keep a clear head. It will be like a major hurricane that will last for weeks, hopefully the power won’t go out.

    • Christine says:

      Actually if you look at China and Italy. Covid19 has no preference. The two doctors in China that caught it died and they were healthy and in there 30′s. Yes a good immune system is important. But the virus affects everyone differently. States are praying for a mild case cause they don’t have beds and oxygen equipment. Head of health even said there going to probably due like Italy if it gets out of hand. And choose who is the patient that will get treated and who will die. This is no a joke.If we get it and our government doesn’t do lock down. We will have another mask grave just like the one after boss island near lefroy house. It’s truly a pandemic

  4. PANGAEA says:

    Why don’t the call it by its proper name ” SARS “

  5. Questioning says:

    Social distancing is a great idea but maybe the Government could lead the way by not having all the Cabinet MInisters huddling behind the Premier in every press conference.

  6. Town Rat says:

    We should be canceling the BA flight from London just for 3/4 weeks whilst the virus spreads aggressively across Europe

    • Not so! says:

      For that to happen the UK would need to close all schools and colleges. Next the Bda Government would need to give a time so kids could decide to remain or return BDA.

    • Q says:

      I would advise you to rewatch what the Pre said. Plus UK and EU are different places.

      • Town Rat says:

        Really U.K. and EU are different places ?! Woah my mind is blown…

        We don’t have any Euro direct flights hence my comment about canceling the London BA flight for a month slow the chances of someone bringing it to our shores. Our country is already in a tough financial situation so adding a virus if it comes here will put us further behind and businesses will be shutting left, right and center. Govt going to lose all those tax dollars that pay for the bloated civil service

  7. campervan says:

    Nice job Premier Burt. Tough times you and your team are stepping up. Thank you.

  8. Confused says:

    Recommending that sporting events with more than 50 people be cancelled, but leave schools and the college open? I’m missing something. I’m not saying that outdoor sporting events should be cancelled or not cancelled; just one without the other isn’t logical.

  9. Zzzz says:

    So far, I’m impressed with the Bermuda Goverments handling of this matter.

  10. Truth is killin’ me... says:

    Not closing the borders now is at your peril PLP. Only allow container ships!!! Do not take $$$ over lives. If the Government needs an emergency loan. Get it now to get through the next 18 months.

    • BDA says:

      Hey IDIOT. They can’t close the borders when people have kids in school overseas. Think and keep politics out of this.

  11. Y says:

    With limited number of test kits, we can only test those who have serious decease or travelled to high risk areas. Those who have mild symptoms, no symptoms or coughing for weeks will never get a chance to be tested. They could pass the virus to kids,

    Bermuda must close school early to prevent community spread, even before the first positive case detected. Once the virus hit the island, school kids pass the virus to their parents and grandparents, we simply couldn’t handle the amount of increased cases.

    “In Maryland, the decision to close public schools for two weeks was prompted by a patient in his 60s outside Washington, D.C., who tested positive for the disease with no known exposure to it from travel or a previously known infected individual. That suggests it is spreading within the community.”

  12. Y says:

    With limited number of test kits, we can only test those who have serious decease or travelled to high risk areas. Those who have mild symptoms, no symptoms or coughing for weeks will never get a chance to be tested. They could pass the virus to kids, cashiers, bus/taxi drivers, mechanics, bank employees and more people get it until someone old get hospitalized and tested positive, everything will be too late.

    Actions must be taken before the first positive case. Bermuda needs to consider close school early to prevent community spread. School kids are unprotected and can easily pass all types of virus to their parents and grandparents.

    Read this
    “In Maryland, the decision to close public schools for two weeks was prompted by a patient in his 60s outside Washington, D.C., who tested positive for the disease with no known exposure to it from travel or a previously known infected individual. That suggests it is spreading within the community.”

    It is what going to happen if we only test elderly serious ill and take actions after that case was detected. There’s a reason for many states in US to close all schools. If we learn from others experience, we should take actions before it’s too late.

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