COVID-19 Update Minister of Health’s Remarks 13 January 2022

Thursday, January 13th, 2022

Good afternoon. amendments to the Quarantine (COVID-19) (No. 3) Order 2020 will be made effective January 20,2022. These changes will further streamline our quarantine and testing guidelines.

 The current requirement for non-immunised persons who must quarantine or isolate is for a period of 14 days, and they must book and get a verified PCR to test out of quarantine/isolation. This requirement will change as they must now quarantine or isolate for only 10 days and test out on a verified antigen test after 10 days.

If you are immunised and required to quarantine or isolate as a close contact, the current requirement is for a period of 10 days, testing out with a verified PCR test on day 10. This will change to a 7-day quarantine/isolation period with a verified antigen test required to test out.

If you are immunised and boosted within 6 months, you currently must quarantine for 10 days and test out with a verified PCR test. This requirement will change, and no quarantine will be required. However, a verified antigen test is required on day 7. It is also recommended that daily antigen tests are taken for self-monitoring during the 7 day period .

The current requirement is 5 days with a verified Antigen test for immunised persons who require quarantine or isolation for repatriation to the US. Persons will be repatriated according to the country’s repatriation requirements, this requirement may be between 5-10 days quarantine, with a verified antigen or PCR test.

Currently, returning residents and visitors conduct a pre-test, test on arrival, another test on day 4 and day 10 using a PCR. This requirement will change, and those travelling to Bermuda will conduct a pre-test, test on arrival and test on day 4 using a verified antigen test.

Regardless of your quarantine and isolation requirements, everyone should follow public health avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close contact settings. Wear a mask indoors and outdoors if you cannot physically distance, practice good hand hygiene, maintain physical distance, and download the WeHealth Bermuda app. As well, those recently removed from quarantine or isolation should continue to monitor their health and symptoms. guidance - With respect to antigen test, It is important to note that there are many fake antigen tests on the market, so the Department of Health will oversee and protect importers from counterfeit goods in collaboration with HM Customs.

A complete list of approved antigen tests can be found on the Bermuda Healthcare website: https://bhec.bm/approved-antigen-test/. The listed tests have met the required standards for validation, which are set out in the protocols of the identified regulatory bodies. These kits displayed performance characteristics desirable for mass population, community-based testing in Bermuda.

The desirable performance characteristics include: very high specificity and very high sensitivity against viral loads associated with infectiousness; and robust product review. SARS-CoV-2 Antigen test kits that are not explicitly on the above list, are NOT allowed to be sold within or imported into Bermuda for screening against SARS-CoV-2 in any setting.

On another note, We are trying to get back to some semblance of normalcy as we learn to live and cope with COVID-19. These changes to testing and quarantining are a welcomed transition for Bermuda and pivotal to our progress.
These changes will also allow for persons to return to their employment sooner so that the economy and essential service workers can provide the necessary services to keep Bermuda running. I am certain that these changes will be welcomed by employers and employees alike.

But, please remember, reducing requirements does not mean that we are risk-free. We need to protect ourselves. We are all accountable for the health and safety of this community, and I encourage everyone to be extra vigilant and take personal responsibility for their health and safety. Do not go to work, events, school or any outings if you have symptoms or are positive and asymptomatic. That is how the virus is spreading.

In closing, as of January 15, 2022, we will be able to update our vaccination records to include booster information for persons that received their boosters overseas.

The amendments to the Quarantine (COVID-19) (No. 3) Order 2020 , referred to above, will take effect next week, 20th January 2022.

Anyone travelling to Bermuda should review the entry requirements. Travellers leaving Bermuda should carefully review the inbound travel guidance of their destination for information on entry testing requirements. Bermuda’s COVID travel information can be found on coronavirus.gov.bm.

Those persons who have already received Bermuda Government Vaccination Certificates can have their overseas boosters record included as long as they can provide the following information.

1. Proof of Booster dose
2. Valid ID (Passport or Bermuda Driver's License)
3. Proof of travel during the time the booster was administered 

All submissions must be emailed to vaccines@gov.bm. Furthermore, It was previously announced that anyone who is immunized and whose second dose is older than 6 months will require a booster to receive a renewed SafeKey, commencing on January 15, 2022. However, as we had limited vaccine centers open over the holiday as well as a delay with testing results, the deadline has been extended to February 15 to allow more time for those who wish to get their booster and be eligible for the automatic monthly renewal of their SafeKey.

So, anyone who is immunised and whose second dose is older than 6 months will require a booster to receive a renewed SafeKey, starting on February 15th, 2022.
Another bit of good news for our arriving passengers, we will also soon begin antigen and PCR testing upon arrival at the airport for faster arrival test results. We do not have an exact date for this as we are working on the logistics now.

Bermuda, please remember that our way forward depends a lot on our collective responsibility. Each of us has a vital role to play. As I said earlier, everyone should follow public health guidance - avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close contact settings. Wear a mask indoors, and outdoors if you cannot physically distance, practice good hand hygiene, maintain physical distance, and download the WeHealth Bermuda app.

Thank you.
   

 

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