STATEMENT GIVEN BY THE MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HONOURABLE CARVIN MALONE
ON WEDNESDAY, 7TH OCTOBER, 2020
COVID-19 UPDATE – ALL 70 CASES RECOVERED; new curfew order
Greetings to everyone. I am pleased to bring you another status report on the Territory’s COVID-19 situation and response.
I begin with a summary of the case numbers and their distribution.
As previously reported a total of 71 persons have tested positive for COVID-19 after testing 5,193 individuals in the British Virgin Islands. As of the 6th of October, 37% of our positive cases reported no symptoms, with an almost equal male to female ratio. A total of five patients were hospitalized up to yesterday, two of whom were reported as being in critical condition and one person has succumbed to the disease.
A cluster of 53 cases (representing 75% of all detected cases) were discovered between the 14th of August and the 8th of September.
Today I am happy to report that the final case that was detected during that period has now recovered.
The total number of recoveries recorded now stands at 70 with no active cases and one death.
I once again acknowledge the hard work that has resulted in the containment of this recent outbreak. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of our public health and community health teams.
I also thank the entire community for your continued compliance and cooperation with the various movement restrictions and public health measures that have been put in place for our protection.
Let me be candid! The fact that we have no positive cases on record today does not mean that the BVI is ‘COVID-19 Free’.
Surveillance, screening and testing services are conducted on a daily basis in an effort to detect and isolate any imported or locally acquired infections, provide treatment to patients, and trace and isolate contacts. These actions are taken to minimize the risk of transmission in our community. Forty-three members of the Social Distancing Task Force have been trained and legally empowered and are currently undertaking inspections to ensure that businesses and individuals comply with the measures enacted.
The work of the Social Distancing Task Force will continue for the unforeseeable future, and I encourage everyone to keep taking precautions and adhering to suppression measures that would safeguard yourselves and your loved ones against this deadly virus.
I turn now to another topic of keen interest to the community as we work to safely lift restrictions and expand the internal reopening process in preparation for our wider opening on December 1st.
At a meeting held earlier today:
- Cabinet advised the National Security Council to instruct the Attorney General to draft a new Curfew Order to impose a new curfew from 12:00 a.m. midnight to 5:00 a.m. daily for a period of fourteen (14) days from 8th October, 2020 until 22nd October, 2020. This new Curfew will be subject to the requirements in Suppression Order (No. 8) Statutory Instrument. No.112;
- Cabinet decided to allow all business to re-open, inclusive of bars and nightclubs, provided that those businesses pass inspection by the Social Distancing Monitoring Protocols and are certified by the Environmental Health Division in order to operate their businesses; Bars and nightclubs owners are currently in conversations with the Department and a date and time for inspections would be agreed.
- Cabinet decided to continue the restriction of the movement of vessels in Territorial waters as provided in Curfew Order (No. 33), S.I. No.104, inclusive of the requirement that persons must be off waters from 6:00 p.m. The exclusion zone at the border area remains in place and commercial ferries are allowed to operate up until curfew time;
- Cabinet decided to permit credentialed Cruise Liners to make technical calls or warm lay ups to the Territory, subject to compliance with the protocols established by the BVI Ports Authority and endorsed by the Health Emergency Operations Centre; and
- Cabinet decided to allow freight couriers and charter companies traveling between the BVI and USVI to operate, subject to strict adherence to the established COVID-19 suppression measures and bi-weekly COVID-19 anaysis.
As we continue on our mission to safely reopen our society, open our economy and open our borders in this COVID-19 environment I am also pleased, as previously mentioned, to report that all 43 members of the Social Distancing Monitoring Task Force operating within the Environmental Health Division have now been trained, equipped, commissioned and deployed to perform the very important duties of educating, monitoring and enforcement of the public health measures alongside the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.
Simple but; effective protective measures such as physical distancing, hand washing, sanitisation, and wearing of face coverings while in public places apply to individuals, businesses and other establishments, and there are legal penalties in place to promote full compliance.
As I close, let me once again emphasise the need to take personal responsibility and hold each other accountable for our collective safety and protection.
I also remind you to contact the Medical Hotline at 852-7650 to be assessed by a health professional if you experience any symptoms related to COVID-19. Common symptoms include – fever, cough, headache, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, muscle aches, or difficulty breathing.
For more information on the Territory’s COVID-19 response please visit the website www.bvi.gov.vg/Covid-19.
Cabinet will again meet on Friday to finalize the protocols for further reopening in a safe and sustainable manner.
In closing I will again reiterate that: Of the 71 positive cases previously reported – with the exception of the one death ALL 70 cases have now been reported as FULLY recovered.
Thank you for your attention and your full cooperation.
May GOD continue to Bless these beautiful Virgin Islands
Thank you for listening.