Following the recent seizure and subsequent release of its shipment by US Customs authorities, the Government of the Virgin Islands will not be importing future COVID-19 medical supplies from the United States.
Minister of Health Carvin Malone told BVI News that this is in recognition of recently-implemented US laws which prohibits US companies from exporting crucial medical supplies to other countries.
He said that, going forward, the BVI will be ordering its medical supplies from non-US companies to prevent any potential recurrence seizures.
“The US laws are stating that N95’s and ventilators will not be allowed out of the US so there is no sense for us to push that. We have other sources, non-US sources, so we would continue to use those. We wouldn’t tend to violate any laws or protocols in any sovereign country,” Malone stated.
N95 masks withheld
Although US authorities eventually released the territory’s shipment of personal protective equipment, the BVI did not recover all thems it purchased. The Health Minister told our news centre that US authorities continues to withhold the BVI’s order of N95 masks.
He, however, said the territory has an abundance of N95 masks locally and also has alternative sources to order more when needed.
“We had indicated earlier that the Bank of Asia has supplied us with over 13,000 to 15,000 N95’s and we have other sources direct … It was a relatively small order coming out of the US but the fact is we have other sources,” Minister Malone said.
He added: “We have constant supplies coming directly from other areas, whether Canada, China and so forth, so we have no shortage as it relates to that.”
President of the United States Donald Trump said his administration banned the export of coronavirus protective gear because the USA “needs these items immediately for domestic use”.
Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.