Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Environmental Health
Release Date:
Tuesday, 23 June 2020 - 8:08pm

British Virgin Islands’ residents are advised to reduce exposure to the Sahara Desert dust plume by wearing face masks in public spaces.

The dust cloud which has caused skies to be hazy is expected to remain hovered over the Territory during this week.

Chief Environmental Health Officer, Mr. Lionel Michael said that the air quality index has fluctuated to unhealthy levels for everyone as a result of the particulate matters associated with the dust. 

Mr. Michael explained that the reduction in the air quality has significantly elevated the risks of health problems, especially to sensitive and vulnerable groups of people such as seniors, children, persons with heart disease and persons with respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

The Public Health Division is warning that the dust cloud may also cause increased aggravation of heart or lung disease or premature death in persons with cardiopulmonary disease.

Active adults, children and people with heart or respiratory diseases should limit time outdoors, or avoid any outdoor activity with prolonged exertion at this time. Windows and doors should be kept closed as much as possible and face masks worn to filter out particles.

Persons with medical conditions who are experiencing difficulties breathing are asked to consult their physician.

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




Adrianna J. Soverall

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