[Reprinted: CNW, 9-4-2020]
The Bermuda government will ban tourists from flying to the island without a pre-departure coronavirus (COVID-19) test in a fresh bid to keep a lid on infections during the pandemic.
Health Minister Kim Wilson said that a new travel authorisation regime would come into force on September 9.
She said the authorisation must be bought one to three days before travel to allow the test to be uploaded and reviewed.
Only nose and throat swab tests will be accepted, and results must be negative and done at an accredited lab with details supplied and Wilson said visitors without a valid test result will not be able to travel to Bermuda.
Residents who cannot provide a valid pre-departure test will be issued a travel authorisation and quarantined as required. The authorisation fee will rise to US$105 to cover the cost of electronic quarantine bracelets.
lson said test capacity was being increased in care homes — where three people died earlier — to allow them to do their own tests, including staff.
She said Bermuda’s coronavirus test regime now ranks top in the Americas and seventh worldwide per head of population.
The island, with a population of around 64,000, has so far carried out nearly 46,000 tests on locals and tourists during the pandemic.
The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 held steady at 172 on Tuesday after the latest batch of 734 tests for the illness came back clear.
Weekend results revealed the first failed test of a passenger — a visitor — aboard a British Airways flight from London’s Gatwick Airport since the airline resumed flights to the island on July 17. The majority of the 26 failed tests since the airport reopened on July 1 have been passengers on flights from the United States.
A total of 87 cases have been on-island transmissions with a known contact, 64 came in from overseas and 19 were local transmissions with an unknown contact and two cases are under investigation, Wilson added.
There were six active cases of the illness, all under public health monitoring, with none in hospital. In all, nine people have died on the island from the disease.