First COVID deaths in Turks, Bermuda

Bermuda announced its first casualties of COVID-19 on Monday.

The coronavirus has claimed two lives in Bermuda and one in Turks and Caicos, the first deaths involving residents in Britain’s Overseas Territories.

Bermuda has had 39 cases of the virus – the same as the Cayman Islands. Turks and Caicos has had eight cases.

Cayman has had one fatality – an Italian visitor suffering from cardiac issues who was transported to Health City Cayman Islands from a cruise ship. He later developed symptoms of COVID-19 and died.

Britain’s Overseas Territories have close links and have been following similar strategies involving curfews as well as business and border closures to help suppress the coronavirus.

A British Airways plane brought much-needed medical supplies to both Bermuda and Cayman on Monday. It was flying on to Nassau, Bahamas early this afternoon.

Also on board are a British military-led ‘security assistance team’ of doctors, medical planners, logisticians, military police and security planners, destined for Turks and Caicos where they will support local efforts to contain the virus.

Bermuda’s premier David Burt made the announcement of the territory’s first casualties on Monday.

Burt, in a statement reported in the Royal Gazette newspaper, said the deaths emphasised the need for the government measures to be followed.

“I sincerely hope all Bermudians will pray for their families and recognise that if we do not follow our instructions, if we do not observe the guidelines which have been laid out, there will be more people who, sadly, will succumb to this illness.

“It is important for us do our part so we can keep that number as low as possible,” he said.

The first of the two fatalities, a middle-aged man, died over the weekend and tested positive for COVID-19 post-mortem after it emerged that he shared a house with someone who had the virus, the Gazette reported.

“It appears this individual was not in good health generally, so at this time it is not possible to ascertain the exact cause of death,” Burt said.

The second fatality was a senior citizen who was one of the cases identified on 4 April and was being treated in the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

Burt said the patient was stable on Sunday, but died on Monday, the paper reported.

The Turks and Caicos Islands reported its first death on Sunday – a case involving a middle-aged man with pre-existing conditions who had passed away the night before.

“I offer my sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of the patient, and also to the persons in the community who knew him well,” Health Minister Edwin Astwood said in a statement.

“This is a painful reminder that although 80% of those infected will do well, those with underlying health conditions, and those in certain risk groups are more vulnerable to the disease and will suffer more severe symptoms and outcomes.”

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