Three major countries – the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Canada continue to advise their citizens against travelling to the British Virgin Islands following the September hurricanes. Some have even continued to warn of possible zika infection.
The United Kingdom government in its advisory updated on 11 January continues to ask United Kingdom nationals to extend caution while visiting the BVI, and also issued zika warning.
The advisory said “Visitors should be aware that recovery and clean-up efforts continue. Swimmers should be mindful that debris may remain on some beaches or in the sea, and should exercise caution…UK health authorities have classified the British Virgin Islands as having a risk of zika virus transmission,” the advisory said.
Roads in the Territory were a separate cause for concern in the advisory as the UK citizens were exhorted to exercise care and caution while travelling in the Territory. “Following hurricane Irma, driving conditions are hazardous, with some roads impassable and others where road surfaces have been washed away. Great care should be taken when driving particularly on the mountain roads,” the advisory mentioned.
On the other hand the United States’ Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs in a statement dated 10 January actually asked US citizens to reconsider travelling to the BVI. The advisory said: “Reconsider travel to the British Virgin Islands due to the aftermath of a natural disaster. In September 2017, hurricane Irma caused extensive damage. Areas of the islands may lack adequate access to electricity, water, medicine, or food. Some roads may be impassable. Intra-island travel may be difficult.”
Meanwhile on 11 January the Public Health Agency of Canada revised its advisory and withdrew its recommendation against non-essential travel to the British Virgin Islands. However, the Canadian government maintained its position that its citizens should be mindful of the zika virus. “Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to the British Virgin Islands. See Health for more information,” the advisory stated. “Exercise a high degree of caution in the British Virgin Islands due to damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria.”
A study on plague in the 21st century published by The American Journal of Tropical Medicine has divulged that “the United States reported only 56 cases, with seven deaths, but was noteworthy for reporting cases in every year of the first decade of this century. These patients acquired their infections in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, California, and Texas. In 2010, two cases occurred in Oregon, which had been free of the disease since 1995. On the other hand, the UK has not issued warnings to persons who plan to visit London in view of the repeated “acid attacks” episodes occurring in the capital. An article published last month by The Sun stated that “London has emerged as a hot spot for acid attacks in recent years, with more than half of incidents taking place in the capital. The number of cases more than doubled from less than 200 in 2014 to 431 in 2016”. Travel advisories should be issued, don’t you think?