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Bermuda To Allow Antigen Tests For Pre-Arrival

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Bermuda will be changing the pre-test requirement for travelers to accept certified antigen tests as pre-arrival tests, with visitors still required to take a PCR test upon arrival at the airport.

Bermuda’s Minister of Health Kim Wilson said, “Taking into consideration vaccination levels within countries where the majority of our travelers are coming from, and vaccination levels here in Bermuda, we are looking at amending our requirements to ensure we are competitive.

“We will be changing the pre-arrival test requirement to accept antigen tests, which are less expensive and easier for travelers to Bermuda to acquire, as well as PCR tests. We are also reviewing the follow up testing once on island.

“The changes are aimed at allowing vaccinated visitors to begin enjoying Bermuda quickly without an extended period of quarantine upon arrival.”

Premier David Burt said, “As announced by the Minister of Health, we will be changing the pre-test requirement to accept certified antigen tests, which are less expensive and easier for travellers to Bermuda to acquire. The Minister was very clear that these are observed and certified and that this cannot just be done by someone at home by themselves.

“We need to make sure that the people who are travelling are actually being tested. While visitors will still require an arrival PCR test done at the airport, we are working to safely eliminate the requirement to quarantine while awaiting those results. These changes will allow visitors to enjoy Bermuda and its local amenities quickly without an extended period of quarantine upon arrival – something that does not apply in many competing jurisdictions.

“For visitors staying seven days or less, the only additional testing required to be done on the island will be the testing needed to return to their destination. Further – we are working to ensure that any antigen tests done after arrival will be administered at the hotel or guesthouse that the visitor is staying in – to remove the requirement to travel to a location to be tested.

“While these adjustments are designed to make the visitor experience simpler and support our economic recovery, they do not negate the need for all persons, including visitors, to continue to observe the basic public health guidelines of good hand-hygiene, physical distancing, and mask-wearing when indoors or where physical distancing is not possible.

“The changes we are able to make at our borders are again due to our own success with vaccinations here in Bermuda, as well as the high vaccination rates of countries from which the majority of our visitors come. They are also necessary to ensure that we remain competitive in the tourism market. As we look to the upcoming New Year and the new tourism season, it is critical that we adapt our approach in support of local businesses and the jobs they provide for Bermudians. It is vital that we do this now so that our tourism partners know in advance and can plan for next season.

“Choosing not to adapt our approach could see tourists picking other destinations that are less restrictive to enjoy their vacation and airlines making the decision to fly elsewhere as they cannot fill their planes to come to Bermuda. This would further impact already struggling businesses and jobs. We cannot allow this to happen. We must balance protecting public health with an approach that aids our economic recovery, encourages visitors to choose Bermuda as their destination, and supports local businesses.

“The Government firmly believes that the direction we are moving, outlined today, will do just that. It is very important with the news of a new variant that has been identified that Bermuda must continue to strike the right balance at the border. It is important to note that there are some persons who want no restrictions at all, but having lived through multiple waves, it is vital that we do what we can to protect ourselves at the border to ensure and minimise the possibility of the importation of additional variants.”

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