Travelling During COVID-19: What do I Need to Know?



While travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic remain in many countries, others are re-opening their borders. If you’re considering travelling overseas, you should keep in mind that the Ministry of Health in Bermuda is still advising residents to avoid non-essential overseas travel and that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. If you do decide to travel, here are some things you can do to keep you safe.


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Planning ahead

It is advisable to check the coronavirus status of your destination. Some countries require you to have a COVID-free certificate, while others expect you to quarantine on arrival. It’s worth noting that healthcare systems experiencing higher numbers of COVID-19 cases may be overwhelmed and present a barrier to you receiving the appropriate level of care, should you require it. You can contact Bermuda Government or the embassy for your destination for more advice. If you have not already, talk to your primary care doctor about the COVID-19 vaccine. Keep in mind that it takes approximately five weeks to be fully immunised with a two-dose vaccine (three weeks between first and second vaccines and two weeks after the second dose, for your body to build up its full immune response).

You should discuss any possible travel plans with your employer and make yourself familiar with their return-to-work policy. It is important to do so especially if you have to submit test results, stay longer than expected, or need to quarantine on your return. If you can’t return home on your original date, you will need to budget for potential extra accommodation costs.

 

Research COVID testing at your destination

To prepare you for your return home, we recommend that you research polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 testing facilities near your accommodation before you travel. Check the availability of no-cost testing options in your area by searching ‘free COVID testing near me’ and, if possible, pre-book your appointment to reduce your wait time. You may have to pay out of pocket if you have your test done at a private facility. If you are an Argus Health customer with Major Medical coverage (MM), please contact our overseas care managers on 1-905-532-2954 within 48 hours of receiving the test to determine your coverage.

 

During your trip 

If your trip can’t be delayed, there are precautions you can take to make your stay as safe as possible. You should:

  • Avoid crowds or places where lots of people gather.
  • Avoid anyone you suspect might be ill.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wear a mask in all public spaces.
  • Use private transportation instead of public, if possible.
  • Try to keep six feet between yourself and others.
  • Ensure that your seasonal vaccinations are up to date.
  • Eat from drive-thru outlets or have food delivered. If you or your travelling companions fall ill before you leave, you should not travel.

If you are an Argus Health member and become ill with COVID-19 in Bermuda or overseas, Argus will cover treatment for the virus based on your health benefits plan. If you fall ill overseas and need medical care, whether in-person or virtually through telemedicine, contact the One Team Health emergency number immediately on 1-905-5322954. You can also dial the toll-free US number 1-800-720-7315 or email overseascare@argus.bm for advice and assistance.

 

Returning to Bermuda 

Residents aged 10 and up are required to get a COVID-19 PCR, pre-departure test no more than three days before returning to Bermuda. While everyone will be tested at the airport upon arrival, the rules for quarantining are very different for immunised and non-immunised travellers (aged 17 and above).

 

 

Until June 5, 2021

From June 20, 2021

Immunised

Traveller

  • No restrictions on movement after negative arrival test
  • Must also test on days 4, 8 and 14
  • No restrictions on movement after negative arrival test
  • Must also test on days 4, 8 and 14

Non-Immunised

Traveller

  • Must quarantine at home or at their accommodation until negative day 4 test result
  • Wristband required
  • Must test on days 4, 8 and 14
  • Must remain in a supervised, Government quarantine facility for 14 days
  • Wristband required

 

Within 48 hours of your return, you must also complete your Bermuda Resident Travel Authorisation Form. You will need to indicate if you have had a certified negative pre-departure test, if you have symptoms of the illness, provide a valid email address, and agree to be tested in Bermuda. The Travel Authorisation fees are $75 for those aged 10 and older and $30 for those younger than 10. If you have Major Medical coverage (MM), are travelling for medical reasons and your treatment is not available in Bermuda, please contact OTH for information on reimbursement of Travel Authorisation fees.

 

Bottom line

While government advice is not to travel unless absolutely necessary, we accept that putting off travel may not be realistic. If you choose to leave Bermuda, please make sure you take every precaution to have a safe trip and a comfortable return home.

For the latest Coronavirus updates please visit argus.bm/coronavirus or The Ministry of Health at www.coronavirus.gov.bm.