June 18th, 2020
BVI Traveller has researched the latest information on the Coronavirus Pandemic and how it is affecting the British Virgin Islands. In addition, the British Virgin Islands has announced a series of measures and travel restrictions aimed at protecting the territory from the spread of coronavirus.
Mister Speaker, in fulfillment of our commitment to keeping the public informed, I am pleased to bring another progress report on the Territory’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Phase One of the Restricted Border Reopening Plan continues be rolled out with 255 nationals and permanent residents having arrived since commercial flights resumed with a weekly arrival average of 79 travelers. A total of One hundred Nine (109) returning nationals have been released from quarantine as of yesterday, after testing negative for the virus that causes COVID-19.
On Wednesday, June 17, 2020 the Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie made a statement regarding changes in curfews, beach access, religious gatherings, private vessels and ferries. He stated, “As a Territory, we continue the phased and controlled reopening of our borders, only at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport. Since June 2, under this phase, we have been welcoming home our nationals, Belongers, holders of permanent residence, and naturalised citizens of the Virgin Islands.”
“I wish to inform you the Cabinet met today and made the following decisions: Cabinet advised that the National Security Council instruct the Attorney General to draft a new Curfew Order No. 22 of 2020 which takes effect 18 June…,” he continued.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Carvin Malone reported that there are no active cases of COVID-19 in the British Virgin Islands. During an interview on the Honestly Speaking Radio Show with Host Claude Skelton Cline this evening, Honourable Malone reported that the eighth COVID-19 case had recovered in accordance with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) re-testing guidelines.
According to a press release issued on Sunday, 4/26/20 by Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie, the British Virgin Islands will be under a new curfew Order from Monday, April 27 for the next 14 days from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. daily. The Premier is encouraging residents of the Virgin Islands to uphold safety guidelines and protocols in preparation for the first phase of the Territory’s reopening on Monday, April 27.
Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Carvin Malone confirmed another positive case of COVID-19 bringing the total to 6 cases in the British Virgin Islands. Honourable Malone stated that since his last update on April 19, an additional nine (9) samples were tested by CARPHA, eight (8) of which were negative for the virus that causes COVID-19 and one (1) additional positive case was detected.
Here are several important elements of a statement made on 4/15/20 by the Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie that will be of interest all potential visitors to the BVI.
1 – To date, we have only endorsed Phase One of the plan which will take us up to June 1, 2020. This first phase only represents the internal reopening of the BVI. Please note that during this phase our borders will remain closed.
2 – When the borders do open up in phase two, only persons deemed to belong to the Territory and persons with resident status will be allowed entry over the next three (3) months, but with strict conditions. At that time, such entry will only be allowed at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport.
3 – The seaports for now will remain closed.
A recent statement by His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Augustus J.U. Jaspert on new COVID-19 developments included the following news regarding the BVI’s Coronavirus testing capability. He said, “Other positive news is that 960 more test kits arrived this week from the UK, adding to the 480 test kits we received from the UK last week. My team at the Governor’s Office has been working closely with health teams here in BVI and the UK to source vital equipment for the Territory.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development confirms that the 17 persons under investigation have tested negative for COVID-19. This brings the total number of persons tested in the British Virgin Islands to 64 with 61 negative and three (3) positive cases. Deputy Premier and Minster for Health and Social Development, Honourable Carvin Malone made the announcement today and stated that the three positive cases will be re-tested for determining full recovery from COVID-19. Those persons have only exhibited mild symptoms and have not required hospitalisation.
His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Augustus Jaspert in a statement to the public on April 4, said that 14 days is the period identified medically to determine if the virus is prevalent and that the Territory now has a unique opportunity to get the next 14 days right. The Governor encouraged the population to remain indoors during this period adding, “We will have a much clearer picture of the level of infection in the Territory; how we can stamp it out; and how we can put measures in place to control it.”
The following is a statement by His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Augustus J.U. Jaspert, “My team at the Governor’s Office and I, in consultation with our health teams here, have been working closely with teams in the UK on sourcing vital equipment for BVI. This week, 480 test kits arrived in the Territory from the UK – more than doubling our current testing capacity – and there is much more to come. These testing kits are vital to our fight against the virus as they will allow our medical teams to identify, isolate and treat infected persons. I intend to provide another equipment update next week, which I hope will include more test kits, PPE and isolation facilities.”
A Territory-wide 24-hour curfew will be implemented for a period of 14 days commencing April 2. The extended curfew, however, does include 3 days where people can shop for essential supplies prior to the full lockdown. Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie said that under the Curfew Act, 2017, a Territory-wide 24-hour curfew will be imposed from 6:01 a.m. on Thursday, April 2 to 6:00 p.m. Thursday, April 16 with the exception of essential workers. The Premier said that the curfew is expected to be extended to Saturday, April 18 to allow for 14 days of consecutive lockdown.
Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Carvin Malone has declared the National Action Plan Against the COVID-19 Pandemic. He said the Territory was at Level ‘Operation Action: Stamp it Out Red Alert’ of the plan since the first positive laboratory case was confirmed. At this level, the main objective is to rapidly contain the spread and prevent transmission of COVID-19 within the community, especially to vulnerable groups.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development has confirmed that there is another positive imported case of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 in the British Virgin Islands. Deputy Premier and Minster for Health and Social Development Honourable Carvin Malone made the announcement today and stated that this brings the total number of positive cases to three (3) in the Territory.
The Government of the Virgin Islands has received a donation of over 10,000 pieces of protective gear including medical masks, gowns, gloves, glasses and temperature measurers from the Bank of Asia to assist in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to insure the safety of persons in the BVI and to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Premier has announced that the Territory is now under curfew from 8PM-6AM until Friday night. As of 8pm Friday night on 3/27 the curfew will be 24/7 until 6 AM on April 2nd with exemption for essential workers.
On 3/25/20 Premier Andew A. Fahie made a Statement On the FIRST CASE OF Coronavirus Disease COVID-19. He said, “Good day and God’s blessing to all. Thank you for joining us today for what is an important development with the Coronavirus Disease COVID-19. I wish to officially announce that the British Virgin Islands today has confirmed its first (two) imported cases of Coronavirus Disease COVID-19.”
On 3/22/20 the BVI Government announced new measures to avert the introduction and active transmission of COVID-19 in the British Virgin Islands, thereby safeguarding the health and well-being of all residents and visitors.
3/23/20 – All Airports and Seaports are Closed to All Inbound Passengers
Effective Sunday, 22 March, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., for a period of fourteen (14) days, in the first instance, all airports and seaports in the Territory of the Virgin Islands be closed to inbound passengers (whether nationals or non-nationals) until Monday, 6 April, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., except as pre-authorised. (The restriction does not apply to freight, cargo or courier craft or vessels. International crew members on incoming vessels will be required to remain within the port facility and comply with all Public Health measures in effect.)
3/23/20 – Gatherings Limited to Under 20 People
That the Minister responsible for Health issue an Order, in accordance with the Public Health Ordinance (Cap. 194), to prohibit all non-essential gatherings of 20 persons or more with effect from Monday, 23 March, 2020 until Friday, 17 April, 2020, in the first instance.
3/23/20 – All Businesses, Services and Recreational Facilities Must Close Daily by 8PM
All businesses and services, and all recreational facilities be ordered to close by 8:00 p.m. and remain closed until 6:00 a.m. daily with effect from Sunday, 22 March, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. until Friday, 17 April, 2020, in accordance section 15 of the Public Health Ordinance (Cap. 194), in the first instance;
On 3/18/19 Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable, Andrew A. Fahie has outlined comprehensive measures approved by the Cabinet of the Virgin Islands to protect the Territory against the deadly COVID-19 disease. In addition, they have put measures in place so that the BVI has the capabilities to test for the virus.
3/19/20 ALL Visitors Cannot Enter the BVI
Cabinet endorsed that entry into the British Virgin Islands by sea or air be prohibited with effect from Thursday, 19th March, 2020 for all passengers, who are not nationals, Belongers, Work Permit Holders or persons ordinarily resident in the Territory, or their dependents. The travel restriction will not apply to flight crews, diplomats or freight, cargo or courier craft or vessels.
3/14/20 – All Cruise Ships Have Been Banned from Entering the BVI
On March 14th, citing the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, the Government of the Virgin Islands announced the immediate closure of the Tortola cruise port, allowing no cruise ships to call on the territory for a 30 day period in an effort to protect the Territory from potential contamination.
3/16/20 – Ports of Entry To BVI Have Been Reduced to Three
The three ports that remain open are Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport, Road Town and West End Ferry Terminals, and one cargo port of entry – Port Purcell. All pleasure vessels will only be cleared at the West End ferry terminal until further notice. The Road Town ferry terminal will be utilized for ferry vessels only.
3/13/20 – Anegada and Virgin Gorda Airports Have Been Closed to International Flights
The BVI Airports Authority Limited in consultation with the Premier, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie and its Board of Directors chaired by Mr. Bevis Sylvester has decided to close its two (2) outer Airports, namely Auguste George Airport, Anegada and Taddy Bay Airport, Virgin Gorda to international flights effective today, Friday 13th March 2020 for thirty (30) days in the first instance.