HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC)— Bermuda on Wednesday, reintroduced a night-time curfew following a spike in coronavirus cases in the island, but Premier David Burt said he “took no joy” over the measure.

Health Minister Kim Wilson said the move was made after the island suffered an “emerging outbreak” of COVID-19 which may be linked to the virulent UK strain of the virus.

The curfew will run from midnight to 5:00 am (local time) and businesses will have to close at 11:00 pm, she announced at Tuesday night’s weekly media briefing.

“The government takes no joy in re-implementing such measures. I take no joy in re-implementing such measures. However, we will continue to do what is necessary to control any outbreaks so we can contain the coronavirus on our shores. We learned our lesson in November and we will not make the same mistakes again,” said Burt.

According to Wilson, the island had seen a surge in coronavirus cases in the last two weeks and half of the 17 active cases were from on-island transmissions.

She said the new cases were an “emerging outbreak” linked to a mutation which was first transmitted locally in mid-February.

Burt added it appeared that the infections happened at a single event.

“The first day without curfew I believe was February 18. There was a party on February 18 that someone attended who was a traveller with a bracelet on and everyone at the party saw this person with the bracelet.

“And now we have an outbreak of the variant. That’s where we are. No one likes it. People want to live normal lives. But we have seen the impact of having to bury people. We have to make decisions for the greater good of the country.”

Wilson earlier said the spike in cases appeared to be linked to house parties held two weeks ago.

She added: “This is very serious news. As investigations into this emerging outbreak continue, the number of cases has also increased and the risk of transmission that increased with large gatherings of persons represents a clear and present danger.”

The island has so far recorded 713 cases in the past year with 12 deaths.

The reimposition of the curfew offset the positive news that 20,705 people — about a third of the population — have now received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Wilson added she was pleased that that the US Centres for Disease Control had lowered the travel warning level for Bermuda from four to three, but it was still not where the island needed it to be.

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