Statement by Minister for Health on COVID-19 Update: Jost Van Dyke

TATEMENT GIVEN BY THE DEPUTY PREMIER AND MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

HONOURABLE CARVIN MALONE

ON SATURDAY 25TH JULY, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE: JOST VAN DYKE

Honourable Premier, our people of all these Virgin Islands;

Last evening I provided an update on the community quarantine and testing intervention that had been implemented on Jost Van Dyke as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.

This step, as you know, was taken after being notified, and later verified, of a positive case detected in St. Vincent and the Grenadines with links to Jost Van Dyke.

Today, I am very happy to report that the BVI Health Services Authority has concluded its testing of all close contacts, the vast majority of persons residing on the island, as well as several recent visitors to Jost Van Dyke, and all test results were negative for COVID-19.

335 persons on Jost Van Dyke

20 on Tortola and

3 on Virgin Gorda

Based on these encouraging findings, I have today brought into effect the Public Health (Covid-19 Control and Suppression Measures – Jost Van Dyke) (Revocation) Order, 2020 which revokes the 24 hour curfew, testing requirements, and restrictions on movement of vessels between Jost Van Dyke and other places in the Territory.

I rejoice with the entire Territory that no evidence of active person-to-person transmission of the COVID-19 virus has been detected on Jost Van Dyke or throughout the Virgin Islands after widespread screening and testing.

These results may, understandably, give rise to concerns about the necessity of the approach that was taken to safeguard the health of persons who could possibly have been exposed to the virus.  On the other hand, if positive cases had been detected, the concern may have been that we should have acted sooner, or more aggressively.

As countries continue to grapple with the biggest international crisis in generations, I again assure you of your Government’s commitment to carefully consider the serious risks posed to our small community with its unique social and economic vulnerabilities, and take decisive actions to safeguard our people against this deadly disease.  We do not take this responsibility lightly.

I once again express deep appreciation to the people of Jost Van Dyke for their understanding and cooperation with this Public Health measure, despite the many inconveniences caused.

At this time we encourage everyone throughout the Territory to continue to adhere to all Public Health measures being implemented to keep you and your community safe from COVID-19. Please remain vigilant regarding the onset of flu-like symptoms, and use the Medical Hotline 852-7650 to set up an appointment for testing if you develop symptoms or have recently been exposed to the virus.

With your help, we can mitigate the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our lives and livelihoods.

Thank you for listening, and may God continue to watch over us.

May GOD Bless these Virgin Islands.

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