Bermuda’s COVID-19 testing meets outbound requirements

i By January 25, 2021 No Comments

Bermuda’s Covid-19 testing system and capacity completely meet the Centers for Disease Control‘s new requirements for visitors leaving the country to go to the United States thanks to a pivot that considers the travellers’ departure date. The system also meets requirements for visitors returning to the United Kingdom and Canada.

Since reopening its tourism industry in July 2020, the island’s public health system has managed a system whereby travellers are tested when they arrive by air or sea and automatically booked to be tested again on days 4, 8 and 14 of their stay on the island. Results are typically returned within 24 hours.

The island’s Ministry of Health reports that the existing automated system now also considers travellers’ departure dates as supplied upon entry to the country matched with the 72-hour requirement for test results on the way out. As of January 25, 2021, any visitor in need of an outbound test not covered by the existing testing program is automatically booked for a return home test.

“The world’s public health measures at the border have changed constantly during the coronavirus pandemic, but Bermuda’s gold standard testing system has remained consistent because it works,” said Bermuda’s Minister of Health, the Hon. Kim Wilson. “Prudent scientific analysis and rigorous testing have allowed a gradual recovery to our tourism industry while keeping our country one of the safest places to shelter during this health crisis.”

Outbound results from Bermuda’s COVID-19 testing system contain the name of the person being testing, birth date, gender, date of test, type of test and test credentials, lab name and address. This information satisfies the entry requirements in the U.S., the United Kingdom and Canada, the three countries with direct air service to Bermuda.

Officials at The Bermuda Government Molecular Diagnostic Lab (MDL), where the test samples are processed, expect volume to increase between 20 and 25 percent as a result of the new protocol affecting outbound travellers. However, because they currently deliver results in less than 24 hours, MDL technicians are confident they can handle the additional demand within the required 72-hour turnaround time. The lab operates seven days a week including public holidays, which covers all traveller contingencies.

“This is excellent news for Bermuda tourism, especially for American travellers looking to escape to someplace close and return home safely,” said Glenn Jones, Interim CEO, Bermuda Tourism Authority. “The Government of Bermuda’s stellar pandemic management and rapid response to a constantly shifting landscape are putting Bermuda at the top of travellers’ consideration lists. And post-travel to Bermuda, visitors tell us they felt safe from the pandemic while here.