Statement By Minister For Health And Social Development Honourable Carvin Malone : Update On Covid-19 Testing

STATEMENT BY DEPUTY PREMIER AND
MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HONOURABLE CARVIN MALONE
REGARDING THE ONGOING RESPONSE TO COVID-19

29th APRIL 2020

UPDATE ON COVID-19 TESTING

Fellow Virgin Islanders, residents and friends, good evening.

Three months ago, on the 30th of January, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of a novel coronavirus a global public health emergency; and on the 11th of March COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. No region of the world has been spared and countries large and small continue to grapple with the health, social and economic upheavals caused by this deadly virus.

As a Territory, region and global community we have been united by this stark reminder of our common humanity, and moved with compassion and solidarity to observe far reaching precautionary measures to protect ourselves, our families, our friends and neighbors from this unseen enemy.

The World Health Organisation records Three million, Eighteen thousand, Nine hundred Fifty-two (3,018 952) confirmed cases and Two hundred Seven thousand, Nine hundred Seventy-three (207 973) deaths.  An estimated Nine hundred Thirty-five thousand, One hundred Fourteen (935,114) persons have now recovered.

Confirmed cases in Caribbean amount to 11,170 with 540 deaths and 2,508 recoveries.

Tonight I am pleased to say that over the course of this week 27 new samples  were tested by CARPHA and all results were negative for the virus that causes COVID-19 (10 recently reported and 17 received today).

This brings to total number of persons tested to 120.

114 persons were negative; 6 persons were positive; 3 fully recovered, and 1 deceased.

Nine (9) additional samples are pending at the BVI Health Services Authority and will be sent to CARPHA shortly.

The BVIHSA is also expecting to receive additional supplies during the course of this week that will enable the Territory to ramp up testing significantly.  It is through extensive testing that we will be able to detect and contain any remaining cases of COVID-19, thereby minimizing the risk of transmission in the Territory.

Together with the excellent work of our dedicated surveillance and contact tracing team, I am extremely pleased to witness the ongoing expansion and enhancements of healthcare infrastructure, technology, and services to meet the new demands of COVID-19 prevention, detection, treatment and care

We are happy with the progress being made by our health teams, as well as the outstanding work being carried out across the entire public sector as everyone has a part to play in this response effort.

But we all know that we are not yet out of the woods. The threat of a COVID-19 outbreak in the BVI is very real and will remain a reality for many months to come.

And so, tonight I also wish to extend my commendations to the public service for the part you are playing to adhere to hygiene, sanitization and social distancing guidelines, as we work together to keep employees, customers and the wider community safe.

As we continue the process of opening our communities internally, Cabinet has reviewed the Curfew Act number 14 and have listed the following classes of companies to be opened in this interim; we will continue to add companies as we go.

  • Supermarkets;
  • Bakeries;
  • Fishers and Farmers;
  • Banks;
  • Fuel Stations;
  • Ferries for inter-island transportation only;
  • Busses and Taxis with limited passengers;
  • Construction companies, building and concrete supplies businesses;
  • Laundries;
  • Home delivery services;
  • Insurance and Financial Services that cannot be carried out remotely;
  • Office supplies and equipment and electronic stores;
  • Automotive parts and repairs;
  • Manufacturers of hand sanitizers and personal protective equipment (PPEs);
  • Water and ice production and deliveries;
  • Emergency household and business repairs as approved;
  • Medical Establishments;
  • Legal Establishments;
  • Telecommunication companies;
  • Hardware stores;
  • Commercial and household supplies and appliances;
  • Restaurants for delivery and take out;
  • Beauty products supply stores;
  • Courier Stores and Freight Agents;
  • Veterinarian practices;
  • Printing, graphics and signage supplies;
  • Flower Shops;
  • Real Estate Agents;
  • Department and Clothing stores;
  • Marine stores and Boat yard operations;
  • Churches and places of worship; and
  • Funeral homes
  • And sanitation, insect, mold and bug control companies.

I commend the Compliance Teams and Social Distancing Task Force that has inspected and certified hundreds of private businesses and establishments for reopening, under the leadership of the Chief Environmental Health Officer.  As these businesses step up to the plate and put the necessary resources in place to operate safely, I once again appeal to the wider community to take personal responsibility for complying with these measures.

The more we adapt to the realities of the new COVID-19 environment, the better our chances of restoring the social and economic fabric of our society that will help us weather this storm over the long term.

So once again I thank you, the people of the Virgin Islands, for your sacrifices and your cooperation and will keep you informed as we move forward together in unity, faith, hope and strength. I Thank you Kindly for tuning in

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