Governor Augustus Jaspert said implementing the seven-day 24-hour lockdown on Jost Van Dyke is a precautionary measure and not because there is an outbreak of COVID-19 on the sister island.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, July 21, the governor said the measure to isolate just a section of the territory has been a strategy used in other jurisdictions.
“We have seen regional isolations be effective in other parts of the world and believe this cautious approach is the best thing for BVI as public safety is our top priority,” Governor Jaspert said.
“We do not believe there is a widespread outbreak on Jost Van Dyke or within the territory. What we know is that one resident from the island tested positive after leaving BVI,” he added.
The governor further said the Health Services Authority have already conducted contact-tracing and have isolated at-risk individuals, but it is only right that the territory does everything possible to minimise the risk of further transmission.
Jost Van Dyke residents, in the meantime, can expect to see a heightened security presence around the sister island.
“The government will be increasing security in the waters surrounding Jost Van Dyke. The Joint Taskforce of the Royal Virgin Island Police Force, Customs, and Immigration will be on patrol to enforce the new measures and ensure our safety,” Jaspert said.
He said a team of ‘extra police officers’ will also be deployed to the island during this period. He further advised residents to comply with the rules and not try to illegally enter or leave Jost Van Dyke.
Food will be provided
As it relates to food supplies, residents of that island need not worry, Governor Jaspert said.
“We recognise this curfew has come without notice and individuals living in Jost Van Dyke may not have had a chance to stock up on supplies. Please be assured that you will not be left without. The government will be providing food and other essential supplies throughout the curfew,” he stated.
He said funds have already been earmarked by Cabinet for that purpose.
“If you live in Jost Van Dyke and need extra support, please follow the local advice, including from your District Officer,” he stated.
He then urged residents to continue wearing face masks, washing hands regularly, and keeping at least six feet apart from others outside one’s household.
What to do if you develop COVID symptoms
Persons who develop cornavirus-like symptoms are advised to isolate immediately and call the territory’s medical hotline at 284-852-7650.
“It is important we all take sensible precautions and follow these rules. This is a stark reminder that COVID-19 remains a threat. We have made fantastic progress in the past few weeks, and it would be all too easy to become complacent. We want this progress to continue so we can re-open and re-boot even more. We must all come together to play our part in beating COVID-19 by following the health advice and the measures in place,” the governor said.
As of today, there is a 24-hour curfew on that island for one week. During that time, no boats, private or commercial will be allowed to travel to or from the island unless authorised.