Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Release Date:
Tuesday, 28 January 2020 - 6:32pm

BVI Health Minister Honourable Carvin Malone has activated the Quarantine Authority as a precautionary measure in response to the 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak in China.

The Quarantine Authority is guided by the 2014 Quarantine Act which makes provisions for the protection of public health by taking comprehensive measures to prevent the introduction and spread of quarantinable diseases in the Territory.

The authority is chaired by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Irad Potter and consists of six additional members who represent the Department of Agriculture, BVI Ports Authority, BVI Airports Authority, BVI Health Services Authority, Environmental Health Division and the Immigration Department.

Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Carvin Malone issued a statement indicating that the Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to the protection of the health of all residents and visitors alike and is implementing public health measures.

Honourable Malone said  other agencies such as the Department of Information, the Department of Disaster Management, Her Majesty Prison, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, Fire and Rescue and Immigration and Customs are also working in close consultation to provide enhanced surveillance of acute respiratory infections; to increase education and awareness on the 2019 novel coronavirus; to provide recommendations on preventative measures such as hand-washing, respiratory hygiene and environmental sanitation; to encourage the use of personal equipment by health workers; to conduct training programmes and to implement advanced processes for the effective management of ill passengers at primary ports of entry.

According to CARPHA, the 2019-nCoV virus is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.  It is part of a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).  Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of January 28, there were 2798 confirmed cases of patients with pneumonia caused by the new strain of coronavirus.  Outside of China, at least 11 more countries have confirmed at least one case among travelers who visited Wuhan.

Honourable Malone also stated that additional measures are being forged with air and sea ports authorities along with health officials from island nations that tourist commonly transit to get to the Territory.

“This measure is being taken so as to determine if adequate protocols are being practiced in these island nations so as to avoid the occurrence of transmittal or delivery to our shores,” Honourable Malone said.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development aspires to provide a caring and integrated system of health and social services that facilitates the recovery of human development and quality of life in the British Virgin Islands.



Note to Editors: Photograph is attached.

Photo Caption: Members of the BVI Quarantine Authority meeting today, January 28 in response to the Coronavirus outbreak in China. (Photo Credit: Ronnielle Frazer/GIS)


Adrianna J. Soverall

Ministry of Health and Social Development
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Telephone: 1(284)468-2272 or 2174