In a bid to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus in the British Virgin Islands, persons under quarantine will now be placed under guarded surveillance at times.
Premier Andrew Fahie outlined this new measure during a live public broadcast on Tuesday, following reports that persons who are supposed to be self-quarantined were moving freely about the community.
With security guards in place, Premier Fahie said the whereabouts of these persons would be known “24 hours, seven days a week” until their respective quarantine periods expire. There are currently 143 persons of interest under quarantine locally.
“Persons have to understand that this coronavirus is no respecter of persons, and when you violate the quarantine, you are violating other persons right to live. They need to understand that they are putting us in danger. The virus doesn’t carry around itself, people carry it around,” argued Fahie.
Meanwhile, Governor Augustus Jaspert said a new piece of legislation now makes it mandatory for persons in quarantine to “stay at home”.
“Under the new legislation, those under quarantine could face penalties if they leave their homes or their place of quarantine,” he stated.
Governor Jaspert added: “I know the vast majority of persons under quarantine have been complying but those who don’t comply put all of us at risk. This is vital to protect the territory.”
Recently, Health Minister Carvin Malone said culprits could be fined up to $5,000 or imprisoned for 12 months if convicted in the Magistrate’s Court.
The new curfew
In the meantime, Premier Fahie said the new and upcoming curfew which will run from 6:01 am on April 2 to April 16, will allow residents to access agricultural produce, go grocery shopping, get cash from their respective banking institutions, visit health-related facilities, purchase gas, among other things.
These businesses are encouraged to increase sanitization efforts within their establishments and implement strict social distancing guidelines for their customers to follow.
As for residents, government said it will announce a timetable that outlines when persons from each electoral district will be allowed out.
“Tomorrow (Wednesday, April 1) we are going to make a decision on how we are going to allow persons to get out from District 1 to 9. So I welcome you to WhatsApp all of us, email all of us, give us your ideas. We have ideas of our own, but it must be done in such a way that we have controlled crowds,” Fahie said.
One person per household
The Premier also urged persons to utilize masks, and allow only one person per family to shop and to source other essential items for thier respective households.
“That is very important to help us to control the crowds and help us to control what we are trying to do so that we can meet the people’s needs while saving our people’s lives,” he explained.
Plans for garbage collection will also be unveiled on Wednesday.
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