BVI News

Immigration and health officials meeting to discuss measures to guard against Coronavirus

GIS File photo of Acting Chief Immigration Officer, Ian Penn.

By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff

The BVI’s Immigration Department is preparing to take whatever border control measures that may be necessary to safeguard the territory from the deadly Coronavirus outbreak in China.

Acting Chief Immigration Officer Ian Penn told BVI News on Monday, January 27 that a number of government institutions are scheduled to meet to discuss the new virus which has so far infected more than 2,700 persons and resulted in 81 deaths globally.

“I’m in contact with the health authorities. We should be meeting tomorrow Tuesday, which will involve a number of stakeholders – Immigration, Customs, Port Authority, Health – where BVIHSA will give us a better understanding of the virus, for us to start our preparedness mode,” Penn stated.

“We can’t wait for something to happen and then we act after, so we try to be proactive and go through every precaution, stock up on everything that we will need to have and go through any situations by the book, should something come ashore,” he added.

The virus, which according to the World Health Organisation originated in Wuhan, China, is temporarily named the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Special Screenings from persons enter from China to be discussed

In 2018 under the previous NDP government, an Immigration exemption policy was approved to allow Chinese nationals to be able to enter the territory visa-free for up to six months at a time.

With the virus seemingly developing into a pandemic in China, BVI News queried whether special screenings will be established at the territory’s ports of entry for persons visiting from China.

Penn responded: “All that will be discussed in our meeting tomorrow with the BVIHSA because we want to make sure that we take all precautionary measures in relation to the virus because it is very deadly, and we must do our part to guard ourselves from this illness coming to our shores.”

What is 2019-nCoV?

According to the WHO the virus is a new strain of the coronavirus which results in a viral respiratory disease, and stems from the family of viruses that include the common cold, and viruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS).

According to reports from international news agencies, the United States has confirmed five cases of the virus to date, with more than 60 additional persons being tested in the U. for the disease.

Also reporting a confirmed case of the virus is Canada, which officials said a male in his fifties is the first victim, after recently flying from Wuhan, China to Guangzhou, China and then on to Toronto on January 23.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

9 Comments

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  1. Hard says:

    This is difficult. Just don’t let any Chinese traveling on a Chinese passport into the Territory until the virus is over. Any possible infected people will be stopped long before they reach the BVI. Simple enough. What else can you do?

    Like 16
    Dislike 5
    • Hardon says:

      That’s coconut logic. You can’t ban an entire civilization.
      What if we stopped all cruise ships because they deliver stomach viruses.
      Instead of preventing peps from entering why don’t we focus on finding the missing $7.2000000?

      Like 5
      Dislike 8
      • @Hardon says:

        Do you realize your a moron? The Chinese themselves have quarantined 50 million people. I guess you’ve already contracted a neuro virus as you couldn’t possibly be so stupid without having brain damage

        Like 13
        • Correct says:

          @@hardon

          It’s not “your” it’s “you are” or “you’re.”

          “Your” is the possessive form of the second person pronoun, “you.” Say that ten times fast. Example, “Your poor grammar reflects the fact that you’re poorly educated.”

  2. Bitter pill to swallow says:

    But HARD is correct. That is the only way to try and contain the virus from getting in. They are saying this virus started in China VIA the type of meats that is consumed and one of the meats had the virus.

  3. hmm says:

    This chief so D… how you running to the news before having the dam meeting. Boy oh boy we in for a long haul. First, he has his water bottle meeting, now this putting the cart before the horse stewpssss!

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  4. Dim Sum says:

    Why not solve the problem at the dump by offering free citizenship to the first person who can solve the problem within our budget.
    A creative set of leaders would invite solutions from the broadest audience.
    I bet there is someone from China that can solve our dump problem in 5 min.

    Like 2
    Dislike 4
  5. Gag order says:

    Waste of time and money

  6. I don't understand says:

    Isn’t the incubation period for the virus 14+ days? Which means someone can contract the virus without even knowing. So why are we only looking at the Chinese? There are reported cases in the U.S and other countries in the world. Do we not allow cruise ships into our ports, not knowing if someone has or has not already contracted said virus? Idk it might just be me, but this thing needs to be looked at from every corner,angle and edge of we are trying to PROTECT our community.

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