Thursday, April 18, 2024

Bermuda announces November 30 end to COVID emergency powers

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HAMILTON — Health Minister Kim Wilson on Monday announced that Bermuda’s emergency powers that had been in place to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will be withdrawn at the end of November.

The pandemic has been blamed for 18 422 infections and 148 deaths since March 2020.

Wilson said she would outline the moves when the House of Assembly met on Friday for the first time since July, adding that the government would not seek an extension of the public health emergency beyond November 30.

“More details regarding the road map for ending the public health emergency, changes to border testing requirements, and changes to current mask requirements will be shared with the House of Assembly on Friday, September 30.”

The current public health emergency orders have been in place since June 30, 2020, following the state of emergency put in place on April 1, 2020.

“Although we continue to contend with variants of concern, the world is in a different place than it was in 2020. Certainly, Bermuda is,” Wilson said, adding “we are fortunate that our community responded well to the government’s vaccination campaign and the vaccine offered through participating medical practices, health services and pharmacies.

“We have fully vaccinated 75 per cent of our population [about 64 000], and that figure rises to 84 per cent when you consider just the eligible population.”

While 148 people have died from the virus, the number of active cases has dropped to 52 – the lowest in Bermuda since last December.

Bermuda has received a free shipment from the British government of the Moderna bivalent vaccine, one of the few vaccine boosters that targets new COVID-19 variants that have higher resistance to earlier vaccines and natural immunity.

The shipment is part of a 5 500-dose consignment that came in last week which includes the original adult and paediatric versions of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

“I am delighted that the UK has been able to provide this 14th shipment of COVID-19 vaccines to Bermuda to support the efforts of the government of Bermuda’s vaccination strategy, at no cost to Bermuda,” said Governor Rena Lalgie.

“The UK remains committed to helping facilitate access to vaccinations and medication that Bermuda needs.” (CMC)

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