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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Assertion by Honourable Carvin Malone – COVID-19 Replace on Journey Necessities

STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE CARVIN MALONE
MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

ON THURSDAY 6TH MAY 2021

COVID-19 UPDATE & TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

 

I prolong morning Greetings to all right here within the BVI, the Area and the World.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to speed up, and we’re deeply saddened by its rising loss of life toll as well being programs and economies far and close to buckle underneath the pressure of second and third waves of an infection.

In keeping with the WHO Weekly Replace issued on Could 4th, and I quote:

“For the second successive week, the variety of COVID-19 instances globally stays on the highest ranges because the starting of the pandemic with over 5.7 million new weekly instances, following 9 consecutive weeks of will increase. New deaths proceed to extend for the seventh consecutive week, with over 93,000 deaths. The South-East Asia Area continues to report marked will increase in each case and loss of life incidences.”

Whereas we proceed our phased reopening of the BVI to worldwide travellers, we should be aware and cognisant of the realities within the area and world wide.

We can’t be paralysed by concern – however – on the similar time, we should pay attention to what the realities and actual potentialities are when COVID-19 is ready to get previous the cease gaps – particularly the place the dangers from these gaps may be minimised by preventative actions and cautions.

The information headlines popping out of India stays grim.

Reuters is reporting that, in keeping with knowledge from India’s Ministry of Well being, a document 412,262 new instances and three,980 deaths had been reported over the previous 24 hours, taking complete infections previous 21 million and the general loss of life toll to 230,168. Infections have overwhelmed the healthcare system, with hospitals operating out of beds and medical oxygen.

In crematoriums in Delhi, the ground and cabinets had been overflowing with earthen pots, plastic packets and metal containers stuffed with the ashes of people that have died from COVID-19. Why is that this necessary!

India is the world’s largest producer of vaccines, however it should take their two producers no less than two months to spice up manufacturing to the amount required. The USA is nervous in regards to the scenario in India and so ought to the BVI. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has warned that the well being disaster in India might drag down the U.S. economic system as a result of India is a crucial nation in world commerce.

Allow us to have a look at the scenario in Brazil, CNN has reported on Could 4, 2021 – final Tuesday, that COVID-19 has accounted for one-third of all deaths up to now for 2021. In keeping with knowledge from Brazil’s Nationwide Civil Registry, 615,329 deaths had been reported within the nation between January 1 and April 30. Of these, 208,370 had been associated to COVID-19, in keeping with Brazil’s well being ministry — 33.9% of the nation’s complete.

COVID-19 is surging with a vengeance in Brazil in latest months – fueled partly by a disregard for social distancing precautions and the emergence of extra-contagious new variants – and has claimed extra lives prior to now 4 months than in all of 2020. Greater than 78,000 folks in Brazil had been killed by the virus final month alone. Ministry of Well being figures present Brazil recorded 73,295 extra confirmed instances of the coronavirus prior to now 24 hours, together with 2,811 deaths from COVID-19. PAHO has reported, “In Brazil, mortality charges have doubled amongst these youthful than 39, quadrupled amongst these of their 40’s and tripled for these of their 50’s between December 2020 and March 2021.” Brazilians desperately need vaccines however they’ve issues accessing provides.

Italy’s Ministry of Well being in the present day reported 258 coronavirus-related deaths, whereas the each day tally of latest infections rose to 11,807 from 10,585.

These worldwide experiences are to not scare anybody it’s to maintain it actual. It’s our obligation to report and hold you knowledgeable.

Let’s get nearer to house Jamaica has recorded a complete of 798 COVID-19 deaths. They’ve over 23,600 lively instances in the mean time with 144 new instances within the final 24 hours.

The Jamaica Lecturers’ Affiliation, as reported within the Gleaner in the present day, estimates that it’s going to take between two and three years to reverse a lot of the studying loss because the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, following the disclosure that 120,000 college students have been fully absent from faculty within the final yr. These are a number of the impacts of COVID-19 that we generally don’t hear a lot about.

Additionally within the Caribbean, Trinidad’s Ministry of Well being reported yesterday, Could, 5, 2021, that the nation had 3,024 lively COVID-19 instances, with a complete of 189 deaths. Within the earlier 24 hours they recorded 399 new constructive instances. It was reported this morning that some 79 law enforcement officials contracted the COVID-19 virus. Projections had been that on the present charge, the parallel healthcare system is prone to collapsing inside seven days.

Principal Medical Officer (PMO), Dr. Maryam Abdool-Richards has famous that Trinidad is not only seeing deaths amongst the aged inhabitants and individuals with pre-existing circumstances, however they’re seeing deaths even among the many age group of the 30’s.

She mentioned – and I quote, “Our ward occupancy charges have elevated inside 24-hours from 50 to 60 per cent which is a ten p.c enhance, and our ICU occupancy charges have decreased from 50 p.c to 40 p.c. I’d prefer to reiterate that the lower in ICU charges is just not as a result of discharge of sufferers on the stepdown however sadly, as a result of deaths of sufferers.” – Finish of Quote.

All that is saying is that, the BVI can not throw warning to the wind. Allow us to every learn and perceive what is going on in territories close to and much. These with ears and understanding, allow us to hear and perceive.

The Well being Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) and Public Well being groups proceed to observe the scenario because it unfolds and suggest methods to assist mitigate the influence of the pandemic on our Territory. 

At a gathering held on Wednesday the 5th of Could, Cupboard thought-about a report from the HEOC, primarily addressing latest adjustments to the entry necessities for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers.

I’m happy to offer an replace on choices taken by the Cupboard concerning non-domestic journey necessities in view of the continued COVID-19 response.

As beforehand introduced, efficient Could 15, 2021, travellers who’ve been absolutely vaccinated with the ultimate dose administered no less than 14 days earlier than journey shall be instantly launched from quarantine as soon as their arrival take a look at is unfavorable.

Nevertheless, this could not apply to individuals travelling from or via Brazil or India. Cupboard has determined to amend the listing of restricted international locations underneath the Immigration and Passport (Prohibition of Entry) Order, 2021 to use solely to Brazil and India. Individuals travelling from these international locations, who’re granted permission to enter the Virgin Islands, shall be required to quarantine for a interval of fourteen (14) days on arrival.

Absolutely vaccinated travellers from all different international locations would require:

  • BVI Gateway Traveller Authorisation Certificates at a price of $105.00 (lowered from $175.00);
  • Proof of a unfavorable RT-PCR COVID-19 take a look at taken 3-5 days earlier than arrival;
  • Proof of vaccination standing;
  • RT-PCR COVID-19 testing upon arrival; and
  • Quarantine till the return of a unfavorable take a look at consequence.

The place absolutely vaccinated individuals are travelling with a number of unvaccinated little one:

  • Youngsters aged 5-17 shall be examined on arrival;
  • Youngsters shall be launched from quarantine along with their mother and father/guardians as soon as the take a look at outcomes for your complete group are unfavorable, however should stay inside their household bubble; and
  • Unvaccinated kids shall be topic to an additional take a look at on day 4.

Additional to that, Cupboard determined {that a} absolutely vaccinated traveller could also be accepted for house quarantine in a residence the place all of the grownup occupants are absolutely vaccinated, as soon as the traveller, or travelling occasion, is supplied with a separate bed room.

We flip now to the concessions which have been made for absolutely vaccinated individuals who’ve been current within the Virgin Islands for greater than 14 consecutive days and want to journey to the US Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, or Puerto Rico for a interval not longer than 24 hours.  As beforehand introduced, with impact from the 15th of Could 2021, ‘outgoing day trippers’ to those neighboring jurisdictions shall be exempted from quarantine and the COVID-19 take a look at upon re-entering the BVI; however can be required to take a PCR take a look at seven (7) days after returning to the Territory.

At its assembly held on the 5th of Could 2021, Cupboard additional determined that:

  1. an individual searching for to be licensed as a ‘day tripper’ ought to apply for re-entry via the Gateway previous to departure from the Virgin Islands;
  2. the Gateway payment can be lowered to $70.00;
  3. ‘Day trippers’ can be allowed to journey with kids who’re underneath 5 (5) years outdated;
  4. refusal by a returning ‘day tripper’ to bear Day 7 testing would entice a hard and fast penalty of 5 thousand {dollars} ($5,000) or a courtroom penalty of ten thousand {dollars} ($10,000) on abstract conviction.

After rigorously contemplating each the want to re-open the Territory to tourism and the necessity to mitigate the dangers arising from elevated journey, significantly arising from new COVID-19 variants, Cupboard determined that the quarantine interval for unvaccinated travellers shall be prolonged from 4 (4) days to seven (7) days.

The place individuals are touring in combined teams with some people unvaccinated, your complete occasion shall be handled as unvaccinated and also will be required to quarantine for seven (7) days upon arrival.

Within the case of individuals who’re solely partially vaccinated, that means that they’ve obtained one dose of a two-dose vaccine, or whose ultimate vaccine dose was administered lower than two weeks earlier than arriving within the Territory, a 4-day quarantine interval can be required, with PCR testing administered on arrival and on day 4.

Lastly, Cupboard has requested that the HEOC current suggestions for fast or PCR testing for frontline employees and Public Officers.

We’ll proceed to sound the alarm that vaccination is our greatest protection towards the relentless COVID-19 pandemic.  New, extra aggressive strains proceed to emerge, because the virus mutates and spreads quickly from one area of the world to a different, rising the danger of extreme illness and loss of life.

As of the 5th of Could 2021, on the Dr. D Orlando Smith Hospital, 30,814 checks had been carried out. Of those, 219 had been confirmed constructive.  Whereas 193 individuals have recovered there exists 25 lively instances and one reported loss of life. In one of many lively instances there was no latest journey historical past, which implies that the virus was acquired regionally.

The 34,000 doses of vaccines donated to the British Virgin islands by the UK and Dominica will enable for a complete of 17,000 individuals to obtain two doses of vaccines every. To this point 10,462 individuals have obtained their first doses whereas 2,034 individuals have obtained their second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine administered within the Territory.

With out apology, it’s this Authorities’s intention to accentuate the schooling course of aimed toward encouraging the remaining 6,538 individuals to voluntarily be vaccinated at any of the facilities by the 31st of Could 2021. Following this date, an evaluation can be made in relation to the remaining doses, of which I hope there can be NONE. For the subsequent 25 days all palms and voices can be required to help in our formidable aim.

Whereas this may occasionally anger some anti-vaxxers, it’s our obligation to be steadfast in function, on this regard.

A number of leaders are grappling with the query of necessary vaccination as a method of protecting their populations protected whereas reopening their inner economies. To be clear, the Virgin Islands Authorities is not going to be requiring necessary vaccinations for its residents. There isn’t any room for irresponsible TABLOID JOURNALISM on this regard. The selection is yours to freely make.

Allow us to be resolute, we’ll, proceed to teach, encourage and enlist the assist of your complete neighborhood to get vaccinated with a purpose to safeguard your personal well being, shield these round you, and assist to attain herd immunity as we additional reopen our Territory’s borders and tourism business and the broader economic system.

And so, I shut by expressing because of the individuals who’ve been vaccinated to date and inspiring each different grownup to benefit from the earliest alternative to get vaccinated.  On behalf of the Authorities and Individuals of the Virgin Islands, I additionally prolong a particular phrase of acknowledgment and gratitude to the nurses, medical doctors, technicians, and Public Well being groups which have been working tirelessly to guard this neighborhood from COVID-19 an infection.

We take part celebrating NURSES WEEK 2021!

We take part celebrating the 65TH ANNIVERSARY OF RED CROSS within the BVI!

We take part honouring my GOLDEN GEMS as we rejoice SENIOR CITIZENS MONTH!

We take part celebration of MOTHER’s DAY; and

We take part recognising MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH!

So many causes to rejoice! So many causes to VACCINATE!

GOD BLESS this Territory and the folks of the BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS.

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