On Wednesday, April 1, Premier David Burt declared a state of emergency on the island territory in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Effective 06:00 (local time) on Saturday, April 4, a 24-hour lockdown will be imposed for a period of 14 days. All residents have been instructed to stay home for all but essential reasons, such as purchasing food and medicine. All nonessential businesses have been ordered to close, with the exception of food wholesalers, retail grocery stores, medical facilities, pharmacies, gas stations, ports, utility companies, and banks on restricted hours.
As of Friday, March 20, all Bermuda residents returning to the country are required to fill in a health declaration form, and all arrivals are subject to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. Since Tuesday, March 17, the Royal Bermuda Regiment has been "actively monitoring" individuals on self-quarantine.
To date, there are 32 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over 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.