Nine new COVID-19 cases have been detected on the islands of Tortola and Anegada, resulting in Cabinet implementing a new night-time curfew order in the British Virgin Islands.
In a late-night COVID-19 update on Friday, Minister of Health Carvin Malone said the new cases were discovered after conducting aggressive contact tracing from Patient 12, who had tested positive earlier this week.
All the new cases are said to be close or primary contacts of Patient 12.
“None of the primary contacts are exhibiting symptoms at this time and we pray for their physical and mental health and resilience as they go through this experience,” the minister stated.
“The cases that were confronted today are mainly located on the eastern end of Tortola and on the island of Anegada. However, our findings point to tertiary and secondary contacts residing in several other communities throughout the territory,” he added.
Community screening to take place
As a result of these latest findings, public health authorities will continue their contact tracing efforts throughout various communities.
Malone said further community screening will take place on Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and at East End/Long Look and Sea Cow’s Bay on Tortola in the coming days.
Night time curfew order
The minister further said Cabinet has since made a number of decisions in light of the developments.
These include the imposition of a night-time curfew which will run from 10 pm on Friday, August 21 to 5 am on Saturday August 22, then from 7 pm to 5am from August 22 to August 29.
Cabinet also decided that effective August 21 through to August 28, movement of all vessels and aircraft will be restricted, except those travelling to and from Anegada, as approved.
Bars and Nightclubs among businesses to close
Malone also said Cabinet decided to allow all businesses in the BVI to operate except for bars and nightclubs, daycare facilities, gyms and sporting facilities, and summer camps. Restaurants are permitted to open for takeout and deliveries only, Malone added.
Other businesses prohibited from operating at this time include freight carriers from BVI to the USVI as well as charter companies except for medical emergencies, as approved.
Gathering size reduced to maximum of 20
Cabinet further decided to limit the size of all gatherings up to 20 persons (with the requisite six-feet-apart social distancing) inclusive of funerals, burials, weddings and faith-based activities.
Additionally, Cabinet decided to increase the surveillance of businesses to ensure adherence of the various COVID-129 protocols.
While the total number of active cases in the BVI now stands at 12, Malone said his ministry is now awaiting test results for 15 additional samples from the local laboratory.
To date, a total of 2092 persons have been tested for COVID-19 in the BVI.
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