“A curfew is one part of a larger mitigation strategy alongside a reduction in gathering sizes, increased mask-wearing indoors and increased testing. This is a proven and effective strategy as we have seen during past outbreaks.
“The mitigation restrictions that the Government has put in place will help to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
“No-one should forget that the 4th wave of this virus, caused by the Delta variant, left us with a total of 106 deaths and a hospital stretched almost to breaking point. The restrictions put in place then, including a curfew, allowed us to claw back from that brink and bring the level of infections to a manageable rate.
“The Government does not want this to happen again and we have chosen to act early to protect our healthcare system and in response to the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant that we are seeing first-hand with a rapid increase in positive cases in Bermuda. We will not underestimate this variant, especially as the world is still learning about the threat it can pose.
“We also acted early to protect the lives of all Bermudians, especially those who are vulnerable. There are 106 families who will not celebrate this holiday season with their loved ones. These families will spend this time usually meant for rejoicing and celebrating, grieving their loss.
“Saving lives, preventing serious illness and reopening schools safely in 2 weeks means that thousands of parents will be able to go to work and not have to sacrifice more of the wages they need to provide for their families.
“We cannot again have our hospital forced to use refrigerated containers for our deceased or be one admission away from having to decide who gets life-saving care and who doesn’t. These restrictions provide us the fighting chance to avoid that.
“The restrictions are temporary, but they require us all to play our part. They cannot be effective without cooperation and a level of personal responsibility from all Bermudians. While many are focusing on the 4.5 hours that we cannot be out, we must also be mindful of our actions during the 19.5 hours that we can be. We must all continue to follow the public health regulations, and the basic public health guidance of hand-washing and sanitising, social distancing, and mask-wearing. We must all work together as a community to protect the vulnerable, protect our healthcare system, our schools and do our best to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant on our island.”