Statement by His Excellency the Governor Augustus Jaspert
May 6, 2020
COVID-19 and Emergencies
Good day to all in the Virgin Islands.
Many of us would have seen the reports of the recent earthquake in Puerto Rico. Our thoughts are with those affected by any damage. With seismic activity continuing in the region and the Atlantic Hurricane Season just around the corner, it is timely that many are wondering what they might do differently when it comes to emergencies in the context of the Coronavirus COVID-19.
Dealing with and living with the threat of COVID-19 means that we are embracing change in many areas, but I can assure the public that our focus on being prepared and ready to approach any emergencies has not changed. Government continues to monitor regional and international conditions via the Department of Disaster Management and our regional partners including the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, the Puerto Rico Seismic Network and the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum.
The Emergency Communications network continues to be improved and indeed has been tested in a new way during this current outbreak, as you all would have seen the Health Emergency Operations Centre’s COVID-19 messages reaching you via various methods since the global pandemic began.
As a reminder, if evacuation orders are issued, it is imperative that residents understand these orders are to protect lives and safeguard people, and would take precedence over any existing curfew or stay-at-home advice. If you are ordered to evacuate, you should do so urgently and without worry that you may be leaving home in violation of curfew. Likewise, if you live along the coast and you observe any of the natural warning signs of an approaching tsunami, such as a very long or strong earthquake, you should self-evacuate and get to the safe points, even if it happens to be during a curfew period.
All social distancing measures should continue to be observed, so please, if you do need to evacuate, ensure that you do so wearing your mask; and once you arrive at your designated safe area, keep 6 feet away from those who aren’t part of your household.
I thank you all for your attention and consideration. Please continue to stay safe and take care of each other.