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Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie said that its time that residents of the Virgin Islands take COVID-19 seriously and fully embrace the level of personal responsibility that is needed to reduce transmission of the virus.
In his statement titled, ‘COVID-19 Update- Operation Containment and Operation Eradication’ Premier Fahie said, “It is time to change our mindset on how we deal with COVID-19. It is time to change our behaviour and our mindset.”
The Premier while giving examples of how persons have not taken the spread of COVID-19 seriously and the potential risk it has on the lives of residents stated, “There is now a situation where a few persons have not been taking the closure of the Territorial borders seriously even though they knew they are closed.”
He added, “We have another situation where some of us are engaging in mass, social or family gatherings with persons outside their immediate households. We are having house parties and getaways by our aunts, uncles and cousins. We do not wear our masks. We do not social distance. We let down our guards because it is our family. Then we go back to our homes and we bring the unwanted and dreaded gift of the Coronavirus home to our immediate love ones. This is actually the reality of some of the cases we have learned about.”
The Premier reminded residents that one cannot see COVID-19 with the naked eye and that they should remain vigilant and practice the health and safety guidelines.
He said, “The reality is, we cannot tell by looking at someone whether they have COVID-19 or not; whether they are carriers or not; or whether they have it but are just not showing symptoms. So, we have to move wisely.”
“We have to interact differently. COVID-19 has changed the way we interact until a vaccine is found. The harsh reality is that we have to live and work with COVID-19 and the only way to do this with the highest degree of success is to adhere to the measures and practice what we preach,” Premier Fahie stressed.
The Premier lamented that some in the business community are not following the health and safety protocols.
“We have the issue where some businesses have not been adhering to the preventative measures. They have relaxed the measures to now where people are crowding and not sanitising or washing their hands as they enter the establishments. Some are not wearing masks or shields and they are not standing and sitting six (6) feet apart either,” Honourable Fahie said.
The Premier said Government will implement strict measures to regulate the categories of persons not following the rules..
The Premier said moving forward “any business upon inspection that fails to adhere to the social measures will immediately be fined and their trade licence will be suspended until the fine is paid.
The Government has also taken measures to further strengthen the protection of the BVI’s sea borders as part of the COVID-19 24-hour mitigation strategy driven by Her Majesty’s Customs and Immigration Department under the theme: “BVILOVE: Partnering and Protecting our Sea Borders in the New Regular”, along with the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.
Other measures will also be put in place to encourage residents to adhere to the approved social measures.
Premier Fahie said, “COVID-19 has one strategy and that is to spread from human-to-human. We, therefore, must have one strategy—to work together to keep all of us safe person-by-person. It is time that we hold each other accountable to adhere to these measures that are designed to keep us all safe.”
A new Curfew Order (No. 30) is now in place from September 2 to 16 from 1:01 p.m. to 4:59 a.m. daily for a 14-day period.
Premier Fahie said the curfew is important to restrict the movement of persons to allow the health team the opportunity to further find people easier as they continue to aggressively trace and test from the existing confirmed cases.
The purpose of the curfew is to control, suppress or prevent the spread of COVID and for the protection of persons within the Territory.
Photo: Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie