Bermuda's Premier David Burt confirmed six cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the territory on Sunday, March 22. The individuals, who were confirmed to be infected with the virus on Saturday, March 21, are Bermuda residents that previously traveled to the UK and the US. Authorities predict that there could be additional confirmed COVID-19 cases in the near term as more people are being tested for the virus.
To prevent further spread of the COVID-19, all Bermuda residents returning to the country will be required to fill in a health declaration form, and all arrivals will be subject to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine as of Friday, March 20. Since Tuesday, March 17, the Royal Bermuda Regiment has been "actively monitoring" individuals on self-quarantine. As a precautionary measure, schools have been closed from Thursday, March 19, until Monday, April 6, and only essential businesses such as banks, restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacies, and gas stations, will be allowed to remain open with reduced hours.
Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.