Governor of the British Virgin Islands Augustus Jaspert has issued a call for a change of attitude amid the threat of the Novel Coronavirus to the territory.
“We need to change some of our behaviours. Take sensible precautions — even how we greet people can make a difference,” he said in a statement on Monday.
He continued: “We are known as a warm and welcoming people, but there are other ways to show that than a handshake and a hug. From now on greet people from a distance. Avoid handshakes and hugs.”
Governor Jaspert also urged residents to “try to ignore and not disseminate the Facebook posts and WhatsApp messages that aim to worry”.
“Instead, follow official advice and continue to be good neighbours and friends,” Jaspert said, adding that it is ‘prudent’ to have extra supplies on hand.
“Excessive stockpiling feed fear, and may even make it more difficult for the most vulnerable in our population to access necessities … As we have seen, this territory is highly capable of responding to threats when we work together. We have been working diligently to ensure that adequate preparations are in place in the event that we have a confirmed case,” the Governor said.
Nearly 100 confirmed cases have now been reported in the Caribbean region, with at least 35 in the English-speaking countries and two cases in the neighbouring US Virgin Islands.
Two people have also reportedly died from the virus in the region.
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