BVI News

Branson concerned about cholera, other potential disease outbreak

Sir Richard Branson. (virgin.com photo)

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson who owns two of the outer islands of the BVI, has raised concerns about the possible outbreak of diseases such as cholera in the territory, adding that medical staff is limited at the territory’s main medical facility, Peebles Hospital.

He described the concerns as ‘key needs’ that should be addressed promptly.

“Sanitation needs to be an urgent priority to stop potential outbreaks of cholera, dengue, Zika and chikungunya. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, sewage running in the streets contributed to cholera outbreaks – without help, similar things could happen here, too,” Branson said.

The billionaire, while giving a report on the state-owned hospital, further said: “More medical assistance is needed. Our nurse, who visited the BVI’s only hospital in Tortola, tells me that they need more help since a lot of their staff have evacuated the island. [They] are running on 50 per cent capacity.”

Branson, while lauding the humanitarian efforts already being given to the BVI by the United Kingdom and other organizations, said the territory will need greater support. The billionaire said his team has also been helping to provide relief to the territory but fears their efforts will not keep.

“Our team are doing their best to help everybody on Virgin Gorda, but this is not sustainable, and Tortola is an even larger island. From what I can ascertain, these islands now really need the level of support only a large organisation with significant disaster management experience can provide to come in and help,” Branson said on his Virgin website.

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