STATEMENT BY DEPUTY PREMIER AND
MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HONOURABLE CARVIN MALONE
REGARDING THE ONGOING RESPONSE TO COVID-19
8th MAY 2020
STEADY PROGRESSION TOWARDS REOPENING
The Excellency the Governor,Honourable Premier, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
Before I begin, I would like to say that the month of May is quite special for it is the month that we celebrate our seniors; so May 1 to 30 is being celebrated as Seniors’ Month and I would like to wish all seniors although this year we would not be able to create all the plans that we have, we would like you to know that our golden gems are special indeed. Today, May 8 is also that of World Red Cross Day and you would no doubt be familiar of all the works that the Red Cross has done through out the world and here in the BVI, not only in 2017 but also as they have done their part in the Territory Provisioning Programme that we have and actually continue to do. On Sunday May 10 will also be Mother’s Day, so we would like to send advance Mother’s Day greetings to all mothers and those who are mother figures throughout the world and especially here in the Virgin Islands. Those of who have had to do your home-schooling and continue to do your home-school, you know how special mothers are. Also is celebrated from May 6 to 12 is International Nurse’s Week. This will end of the 12th in celebration to Florence Nightingale’s birthday so we know, a special debt of gratitude we have to send to our nurses, both public and private. In fact an initiative is being held where I would like to be able to send a rose to all nurses public and private between now and the 12. All of the roses would not be able to be delivered on the same day, but it is my quest to make sure that each nurse in appreciation for the work that you have done for this period and continue to do all through your career that you would be able to understand that this Government, really appreciate your efforts.
In recent weeks there has been a steady progression of countries around the world moving towards reopening and rebooting their economies as they struggle to recover from the early impacts of COVID-19. These decisions have been met with mixed reactions and results, but one clear lesson for sustainable development is that governments must continue to place people’s health and well being at the forefront.
This pandemic is far from over. Since the beginning of April, around 80,000 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported to the World Health Organization every day.
Globally, more than 3.6 million cases and over 254,000 deaths have been reported; and a total of One million, Three hundred Sixty-two thousand, One hundred Thirty-eight (1,362,138) persons are deemed to have recovered from the disease.
As of May 7, the Caribbean region accounted for 14,991 confirmed cases, 672 deaths and 4,122 recoveries.
In terms of the local situation, there were thirteen (13) new tests that were processed by CARPHA on Thursday of this week, bringing our total to 167 samples for 143 individuals; the others being re-tests. All new samples tested negative for COVID-19 and we are very pleased to announce the full recovery of a fourth case. Therefore, there are now only two (2) active cases out of the seven (7) BVI residents that have tested positive for COVID-19 to date, with four (4) recoveries and one (1) COVID-19 related death.
All the preemptive actions taken by the Government and every BVI business, household, community and individual have resulted in the successes we’ve achieved thus far in controlling the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Our surveillance system operates at a level where new cases can be managed and transmission controlled.
Health system capacities are in place to detect, isolate, test and treat every case and trace and track every contact.
Outbreak risks are minimized in special settings like health facilities and nursing homes.
Preventive measures are in place in workplaces, and other places where it is essential for people to go. This is buttressed by protocols for safe operation of establishments being monitored by the Social Distancing and Compliance Task Force. In this vein the Environmental Health Division has already certified over seven hundred (700) businesses for reopening.
This is a demonstration of the real commitment shown throughout the BVI to safeguard health, while steadily advancing towards the Territory’s full social and economic recovery. By continuing to observe these measures in the weeks and months ahead, we can reduce the risk of a spike in transmission, even as we prepare for the phased reopening of the Territory’s border.
In us working together to manage this transition carefully, another very important element is for all of us, as members of this community to be fully educated, engaged and empowered to adjust to the “new regular”. We are committed to keeping you informed.
While it is true that the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed our way of life, by embracing this change we can defy the odds and emerge as a stronger, more resilient and cohesive Virgin Islands.
Thank you, again, for your courage and commitment, and may God forever bless these Virgin Islands. May God Forever bless the people of these Virgin Islands. I thank you.