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CDC lowers Bermuda’s risk rating for COVID-19


CDC lowers Bermuda’s risk rating for COVID-19

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Hamilton – The Atlanta-based US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has lowered Bermuda’s coronavirus (COVID-19) risk rating from very high to moderate after a plunge in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, handing the island’s tourism officials a major boost.

The CDC lists Bermuda as “Level 2 – moderate”, down from “Level 4 – very high” in a travel advisory on its website. The CDC raised Bermuda’s rating in April after a massive increase in cases that peaked at 904.

But the number of active cases now stands at eight with no one in hospital. Only three new cases — all residents returning from the United States — have been recorded so far in June.

In all, 2 497 cases have been logged from more than 284 000 tests. Thirty-three people have died, including five in May.

“COVID-19 cases are down in Bermuda, thanks in part to our aggressive testing and vaccine programme,” Health Minister Kim Wilson told a news conference.

Just under 54 per cent of the population have been fully vaccinated, well short of the 70 per cent herd immunity Premier David Burt is seeking.

Tuesday was the final day for people to get their first shot of the Pfizer vaccine as supplies sent to the island from the British government expire at the end of the month. Officials hoped the island’s 12 to 15-year-olds would get their jabs after being given the green to receive them.

On the downside for tourism officials, however, is news from Royal Caribbean International (RCI) that it has scrapped plans to bring two of its liners to the island over the summer.

Freedom of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas were scheduled to make 21 visits each to Bermuda from July to October. But the RCI website said both itineraries have been cancelled.

The company also planned to have a third vessel – Vision of the Seas – homeported in Bermuda over the summer.

But the plan was shelved two weeks ago after RCI claimed that it was confident that ships would be granted permission to sail out of US ports instead. Another cruise operator, Norwegian Cruise Line, has confirmed three visits later this year.

Norwegian Breakaway will berth in Dockyard for two nights at the end of September and a sister ship, the Norwegian Gem, will make two visits in December.

Viking Ocean Cruises is homeporting its Viking Orion — currently docked in Hamilton — with a series of cruises out of Bermuda set to start next Tuesday.