The Ministry of Health today announces that effective Friday, 21 January 2022 the following requirements will continue to be in effect for a further two weeks:
● Maximum group sizes will remain at 20 people.
● Household mixing is strongly discouraged. However, if you must attend a household other than your own, we continue to strongly urge persons to take an antigen test before they visit another home or welcoming someone into their home.
● Masks must be worn indoors and, also, outdoors when you are within 6 feet of another person.
● For restaurants, bars and clubs, tables will be limited to a maximum of 10 people and must be spaced 6ft apart. SafeKey will continue to be required for these indoor settings.
● We are encouraging employees who are able, to work remotely from home. Along with this, we are encouraging employers to use antigen tests to ensure employees who must be at the workplace are not infected with the coronavirus.
● Churches will be open; however, all members must wear masks – the officiants, congregation and choirs.
● Gyms can remain open – but SafeKey must continue to be used, and physical distancing must be observed.
● Personal care services – SafeKey is recommended for those services that require masks to be removed.
The current restrictions relating to Curfew will expire as of 5:00 am on 20 January 2022. This mixture of legislative and guidance changes will help to reduce coronavirus transmission while taking into account what we know about the Omicron variant and allows for the expiry of the current Curfew.
Minister of Health, Kim Wilson said, “Early evidence suggests that, though the Omicron Variant is more contagious than previous variants, the illness caused by the Omicron variant is shorter, with a reduced risk of hospitalizations. Additionally, this evidence suggests that hospitalizations for Omicron are around half of those related to Delta and that this is due to the increasingly high vaccination rate and booster uptake.
“Given what we know about the Omicron variant, yesterday, 18 January 2022, Cabinet considered and approved the recommendations made by the Cabinet Covid Committee relating to restrictions currently in place for the island, which are due to expire on 20 January 2022.
“Evidence shows that the positive Omicron cases are symptomatic. However, for those who are vaccinated, their symptoms are mild.
“These symptoms include cold-like symptoms, fatigue, runny nose, cough, headache, congestion, sore/scratchy throat, and body aches. If you have any of these symptoms, please stay at home even if you do not think you are sick. Our priority is to protect all our residents, especially our most vulnerable community members. Omicron is indiscriminate, and we must put safeguards in place to not only protect our community but to ensure that our healthcare system does not become overwhelmed.
“SafeKey remains a valuable tool to help reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. Persons who are have received at least two doses of the vaccine can automatically renew their SafeKey for one month by going to gov.bm/safekey and using the ‘click here to renew’ link at the top of the page.
“From 15 February, persons will require a booster in order to be eligible for this automatic renewal process if their second dose was received more than 6 months ago.
“In addition to using SafeKey, wear your mask properly, practice good hand hygiene and keep physically distanced from those not in your household. Take an antigen test before you go out to know your status. A home test is a quick, easy way to determine whether you are infectious.
“We must all follow these safety tips, but, as I have said many times, vaccination remains the best defense against the virus that causes COVID-19, and I encourage all unvaccinated people to speak to their doctor about getting vaccinated.”
Pending the MDL Lab returning to a 24-hour turnaround for results, testing appointments at Government sites have been limited to a daily maximum. With the progress being made at the Lab it is expected that by this weekend, additional capacity will have been restored, and additional appointments for testing will be made available. This will allow for SafeKey renewals as well as other community testing requirements to be met.
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