As we approach a month since the Territory’s borders were closed Government hinted at considerations that are being made to ensure that there is no relapse on the spectacular strides that were made to ensure that there were minimum cases of COVID-19 or Coronavirus in the Territory.
The Territory’s borders were closed on 22 March from 11:59 p.m for 14 days, in the first instance. At that time it was explained that all airports and seaports in the Territory would be closed to inbound passengers, whether nationals or non-nationals. At that time it was also announced that the closure would be until 6 April, at 11:59 p.m., except as pre-authorised. Additionally, it was stated that the closure did not apply to freight, cargo or courier craft or vessels.
However, in an Immigration and Passport (Prohibition of Entry) Order that was gazette on 6 April it was stated that a person visiting the Virgin Islands from or through any of the countries listed in the Schedule to the said Regulations, shall be prohibited from entering the Virgin Islands for eleven days expiring on the 18 April; from 7 April the date this Order comes into force.
In his mention about a reopening of the Territory’s borders. Minister for Health Hon. Carvin Malone said that Government is concerned that while the BVI has only three cases, places that persons traveling to and from have several cases.
“We observe, with concern that the rates of infection are steadily increasing in neighboring jurisdictions and in countries that have close ties with the Virgin Islands. The Government continues to push ahead with strengthening the capacity of our ports, public health, law enforcement and health-care delivery systems in order to rapidly detect, contain and manage any cases that may be brought to our shores when our borders eventually re-open,” Hon. Malone said.
“Meantime we must continue to carefully manage the closure of our ports while facilitating the movement of freight and cargo vessels; secure our borders to curtail illegal entry,” the Minister added.
In an explanation of the further delay of the opening of the port, the Health Minister explained that the BVI is “updating risk classifications of countries, territories and areas of Special Interest and High Risk, based on World Health Organisation Situation Reports and other Public Health data. Entry to the BVI would continue to be prohibited based on travel history to or from high-risk areas within 14 days; and maintain physical distance between people and avoid gathering in large groups.”