By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff
With multiple in-transit countries to the territory experiencing a surge in positive COVID-19 cases, the BVI remains vigilant as the prevalence of the virus in these countries increases the probability of exposure to the territory.
On Sunday, Puerto Rico which now has a total of 45,981 active COVID-19 cases, reported 1,841 new positive COVID-19 cases and five deaths. Santo Domingo also reported an increase of 986 new cases to now total 23,372 active cases.
The neighbouring United States Virgin Islands (USVI) also registered 26 new cases between Thursday and Sunday, which brings their total active cases to 74.
Speaking to BVI News following the alarming statistics, Health Minister Carvin Malone said the BVI will continue to monitor the situation in each of the respective countries and territories.
He said: “As I have said from the declaration of this pandemic in March of 2020, it is critical for us not only to observe the protocols that we’ve put in place here in the Virgin Islands, but it was going to be critical for us to look at what is happening throughout the region and indeed throughout the world.”
“When we look at the USVI, when we look at the numbers coming out of Puerto Rico, when we look at the numbers coming out of the Dominican Republic – primarily because those markets are the ones that afford us direct linkage to whether the TB Lettsome Airport or to any of our seaports on the west or in Road Town – it is utmost critical for us to be mindful of this because we are our brother’s keeper. And if it is prevalent in any of these direct routes, then the likelihood of us being affected one way or the other will increase,” the minister explained.
BVI cannot be too careful
Though the territory continues to maintain a status of having no active COVID cases after conducting 6,858 tests to date, Minister Malone said he believes now is not the time to be complacent as the second wave of the virus has started to aggressively impact a number of the countries where tourists usually travel from.
“We can’t be too careful. We have to keep our guards up and we have to be mindful that this is possible on our shores. So vigilance is critical for us whether tourists are coming out of Canada, that has now instituted lockdowns; the United States, which has a number of states that is under critical review; or the United Kingdom, that has reinstituted lockdowns,” Malone said.
He added: “There is hardly a place in the world that has not been adversely affected by the COVID-19 virus and our protocols must show this level of caution that we need to take in order to keep our residence safe.”
When the BVI reopens its borders to tourism on December 1, it will require all visitors to undergo a mandatory four-day quarantine period. During the quarantine, visitors will have to take multiple COVID-19 tests that must all return negative results if they are to be permitted into the general population of the territory.
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