Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Carvin Malone has announced recent Cabinet decisions to change the border requirements to enter the British Virgin Islands.
Honourable Malone stated that effective May 15, 2021 fully vaccinated persons travelling from overseas would require a PCR test within five (5) days of travel, provide satisfactory evidence of being fully vaccinated, and will be subject to a PCR test upon arrival (day zero). Fully vaccinated persons will be quarantined until a negative test result is received from the BVI Health Services Authority.
Honourable said, “In other words, if the test administered on arrival returns a negative result, the fully vaccinated traveller will be immediately released from quarantine unless they have been in close contact with a positive case.”
Minister Malone explained that a person is deemed to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after they have received both doses of an approved two-dose vaccine, such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Moderna or one shot of a single-dose vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson.
Honourable Malone explained, “These vaccines are shown to be effective in preventing severe COVID-19 symptoms and deaths. They also reduce transmission of the disease in settings where vaccination rates are high. However, these vaccines do not eliminate the risk of transmitting the virus from a vaccinated person to a non-vaccinated person. This is why we have been encouraging everyone to get vaccinated while the vaccines are freely available, to protect both themselves and the people around them from the increasing risk of severe sickness and death.”
Cabinet also decided that effective 15th May fully vaccinated persons who have been present in the Virgin Islands for a period of more than fourteen (14) consecutive days and travel to the USVI, St. Martin, or Puerto Rico for a period not longer than 24 hours are exempted from quarantine and the COVID-19 test upon re-entering the Territory. However, day-trippers to these neighboring jurisdictions would be required to take a PCR test seven (7) days after returning to the Territory.
Honourable Malone also outlined the new restrictions on the assembly of persons outlined in the Public Health (COVID-19 Control and Suppression Measures) (No. 3) Order, 2021 comes into effect today, April 23. The restrictions include, gatherings among vulnerable persons are not to exceed five persons, as certified by the Chief Environmental Health Officer. It also states that all other gatherings are limited to one person per sixty-four (64) square feet and shall not exceed two hundred (100) persons at any given time; except faith-based services; graduation ceremonies; wedding ceremonies; or funerals which should not exceed two hundred and fifty (250) persons.
Honourable Malone said, “In relaxing the travel requirements for persons who have been fully vaccinated, and permitting larger gatherings, there will be an increased risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 among the resident population. This is why other prevention measures such as mask-wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing will remain in effect, and vaccines continue to be widely distributed while they remain in stock.”
Persons who received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine are reminded to schedule their second dose at least 10 weeks apart. Persons can contact 852-7525 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. There is a new registration form that is required for persons to schedule their second doses. The form can be accessed by visiting www.bvi.gov.vg.
Photo Caption: Government officials received their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine prior to the announcement of Cabinet Decisions to change re-entry requirements. (Photo Credit: Ronnielle Frazer/GIS)