STATEMENT BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE,
HONOURABLE ANDREW A. FAHIE
DURING THE SEVENTH SITTING OF THE SECOND SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
April 16, 2020
COVID-19 UPDATE – Protecting the People
Mister Speaker, I wish to thank the people of the Virgin Islands for their patience during this current 14 day, 24-hour curfew lockdown.
A few persons have questioned if the current lockdown is necessary.
Mister Speaker allow me to inform that at the time of the decision was taken, we had 3 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Around the world and even within the region, the numbers of cases were skyrocketing, and still are as the World Health Organisation and CARPHA continues to release the daunting figures. Thousands of people across the world were, and are still dying. People are dying daily. Countries were, and are competing for Ventilators. And I could go on.
Our decision as a Cabinet is not taken based on emotions or personal feelings, rather we are guided by the health professionals who continue to use the scientific data and the behavioural patterns of the disease to ensure that any pockets or presence of the COVID-19 could be picked up and intercepted to avoid community spreading.
In essence, Mister Speaker, the 14-day, 24 hour curfew is to ensure that any areas that may have missed in term of detection would be forced to show during this time.
At the time as well, we had over 100 people, some because of their travel history or because of having come into contact with certain persons, under quarantine.
Even though we had aggressive contact tracing, we needed to continue with the precautions and observations for a period of time to ensure an all clear for this Territory.
Mister Speaker, quarantine helps to break the cycle. And, it helps to keep the people safe, so the curfew needed to be done to keep all of us safe.
This was the rationale behind implementing a curfew, and a further curfew—to keep us all safe.
Remember you cannot se COVID-19. That is why around the world no army can fight it.
We still have one confirmed case and I believe that working together, policing ourselves will bring the COVID-19 count back to zero, and together we will keep it there.
Every day that passes without any new cases of the coronavirus is a milestone for the BVI.
And so today, where we have no new confirmed cases, the BVI has passed another milestone.
The BVI was projected to have over 3,700 persons in the British Virgin Islands infected with COVID-19, and scientific data that could bear me out.
Had your Government not put the preventative measures in place, including curfews, through the different institutions like Cabinet, House of Assembly, Health Emergency Operating Centre, we would have been behind the eight ball.
Again, This additional curfew is important.
You see, once we are allowed to be quarantined for 14 days up until April 19, the scientific data and analysis show that we will be able to identify any person who may be infected—that we did not catch and we will be able to deal with those pockets much better.
Mister Speaker, this is made easier but not easy because our boarders are closed.
Mister Speaker, if it is one time that we can help to stop the spread of the virus, it is to do something that is so simple and that is to stay at home.
These decisions are tough, but it is to save our own lives. These decisions were taken in the best interest of all the people off the BVI.
None of these decisions by Cabinet Minister were based on class, political favours, factors or where persons live, because this virus respects none of those things.
Let us not lose focus here. Right now countries are only now closing their border and implementing lockdown, some 21 days, other 30 days, when thousands have already died.
Yes we are a people of Faith, but the Lord also says that Faith without work is dead.
I ask these few people, should we wait until there is a spread to lockdown? Show we wait until death is in our own backyard to lockdown?
Sorry, but I am not going to be like doubting Thomas.
Our objective as a Government is that not one soul in the BVI will be lost to COVID-19. That is why Mister Speaker, we know that based on the data, that we quarantined for 14 days up until April 19 based on scientific data and anaylsis that are any area that might have been missed can now be identifies and will show themselves before the 14 days.
Mister Speaker we pray that this doesn’t happen. But we also knew Mister Speaker that this latest curfew was an attempt to highlight any areas that might have been overlooked, Mister Speaker.
So Mister Speaker, our efforts continue to be as calculated as is possible scientifically an interim of just raw common sense. Mister Speaker, we will pray that no one else is identified by Sunday, April 19 but, Mister Speaker even if so we know that the exercise have allowed us to isolate those cases so that Mister Speaker, that when they are identified we can avoid the community spreading of the Coronavirus.
So Mister Speaker, the quarantine for 14 days has a specific purpose and Mister Speaker we thank the people of the Virgin Islands for adhering and Mister Speaker cooperating to the measures with the 14 days 24hour lockdown.
Mister Speaker, that it would be important to point this out to the people of the Territory so Mister Speaker that we can be as transparent as possible answering any concerns that may arise as to the reason why the 14 days 24-hour curfew lockdown.
I thank you, Mister Speaker.