Statement by Premier Fahie on Cabinet’s COVID-19 Meeting on August 28

STATEMENT BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE
HONOURABLE ANDREW A. Fahie 
28 August, 2020

My fellow people of the Virgin Islands good day & GOD’S BLESSINGS.

We continue as a people to stem the tide as we navigate in ‘The New Regular’ of living and working with COVID-19.

We remain under a daily curfew from 5:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. for the time being.28

We continue to strongly encourage that during the day time persons limit their movement to give our health team the opportunity to engage in aggressive contact tracing, without hindrance.

We thank persons for presenting themselves to be tested. This is important to ensure that you get the appropriate treatment and to protect those around you such as your family members, friends, the medical personnel and everyone else around you from the dangers of COVID-19 – especially the most vulnerable categories of persons such as the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions such as asthma.

Just hours ago on August 28, the Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Carvin Malone gave a COVID-19 Update to you the people of this Territory.

The Minister informed us that a total of 529 persons were tested from August 25 through 27. These persons were mainly comprised of primary and secondary contacts of recently identified cases #12 through #26. Swabs and testing included residents of Anegada, returning nationals and Belongers and other categories of persons routinely tested for COVID-19.

Five hundred and twenty (520) of these results were returned as negative while nine were returned as positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. With these additional findings, the total number of positive cases recorded in the Territory is 35 with eight recoveries, one death, and 26 cases remaining active. Two persons are currently hospitalised. Thanks be to God they are not experiencing severe symptoms of the COVID-19 disease, at this time.

I take this time to commend our Health team and the Health Emergency Operations Centre who have worked around the clock to accomplish this enormous task.

I maintain that the BVI has done extremely well by all standards in how we are managing the pandemic.

Indeed, the support from all of our other public and private sector partners continue to contribute immensely to our relative success.

I thank everyone for cooperating more and more with the social measures put in place to ensure the safety of us all.

Now more than ever we must hold each other accountable. We are all in this together and together we will overcome this challenge.

I must now inform that Cabinet met on the evening of Friday, August 28 and the following decisions were made:

  1. received and noted the Health Emergency Operations Centre: COVID-19 Situation Report #24;
  2. advised the National Security Council to instruct the Attorney General to draft a new Curfew Order No. 29 to include the following businesses to operate from 29th August, 2020, in addition to those listed in section 4 under Curfew Order No. 28:
    1. Hardware and building supplies stores
    2. Suppliers of hurricane shutters
    3. Construction teams with no more than 10 people;
    4. Restaurants for takeout and deliveries only,
    5. Computer equipment and office suppliers;
    6. Bakery supplies;
    7. Laundries for drop off and delivery/pick up only; and
    8. Churches and faith-based activities.
  3. Decided to limit gathering sizes to ten (10) persons;
  4. Decided that intra-island ferries continue to operate but must adhere to the social distancing measures and protocols;
  5. Decided to amend the Suppression Order to limit access to the Territory’s beaches between the hours of 5:00am and noon;
  6. Endorsed the Minister of Education’s decision relating to on-line education in the first instance and agreed to review the position of the re-opening of schools fortnightly.

These Cabinet Decisions took into consideration not only our ongoing fight against COVID-19, but also our need to always be in a state of preparedness and readiness as we are in the Atlantic Hurricane Season.

At this time, I ask everyone to continue to be vigilant.

Remember that COVID-19 is not playing around with us and we MUST NOT play around with COVID-19. Also, we must not play around with this Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Please remember that in the BVI we have just over 35,000 people, but only eight ventilators, and we do not want to use any of them.

Hence at all times we must make wise well calculated decisions. We must keep our guards up. We must practice the wearing of masks, frequent hand washing and sanitising, and social distancing.

If you or someone you know believe that you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, do not go to any health institution. Contact the medical hotline at 852-7650.

There is no need to be afraid to come forward. By coming forward you would be saving lives. But by trying to keep it a secret, the consequences could be fatal for you and for others. So, please, if you believe you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, call the medical hotline at 852-7650. I repeat – do not go to any medical institution; call the medical hotline at 852-7650. They will ensure that you get the attention that you require and guide you in how to keep others safe.

Remember, we continue to put measures and resources in place to further strengthen our sea border security. On this note, if you see any suspicious activities please call 311.

May the Peace of GOD be over the BVI. May we remain steadfast in purpose and diligent in actions because we are not out of the woods as yet.

My God bless us all.

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