Following the recent breach of quarantine protocols by one tourist who tested positive for COVID-19, Premier Andrew Fahie has said he will be lobbying to have the maximum fine for breaches increased to $20,000 when the Cabinet meets today, Wednesday, December 16.
Premier Fahie made the comment during Tuesday’s session in the House of Assembly where it was revealed by the Health Minister Carvin Malone that the territory had recorded another three positive COVID-19 cases, pushing the total to nine active cases.
The Premier scolded the actions of the tourist who put the territory at risk by venturing out of their quarantine area. He said the visitor’s actions could have easily reversed the many months of progress made by residents who have complied with the COVID-19 measures.
“Everyone has been here working hard, adhering to everything and then in comes somebody and decides that they’re just going to leave the quarantine area, and they’re positive. It’s nothing to hide under the bush.”
“I am going to be pushing for it (the fine) to be $10,000. And if I can get it to twenty, I will push for it to be $20,000. It’s foolishness — vexes my spirit,” the Premier expressed.
16 close contacts negative so far
Premier Fahie said the contact tracing efforts so far have been rewarding, with the majority of the persons who came into close contact with the positive tourist returning negative results.
Some 16 close contacts had been identified at the time.
“We pray God that the few more that have to come in they’ll be negative too. And I want to say this very blunt, ‘that’s totally irresponsible’. It’s disrespectful to the people of the territory,” the Premier said.
No evidence of community spread
The leader of government business also assured residents there is no evidence at this time to suggest that community spread is present in the territory.
He said that all nine active cases are presently being quarantined. Of the nine, five were detected after having their test done at the airport while the remaining four tested positive on Day 4 of their quarantine period.
“We have no evidence of community spread at this time but the contact tracing continues to make sure to double-check and triple-check that it is not so. I urge everyone under the sound of my voice to take COVID-19 very serious,” he urged.
Two to be questioned for breaches
Health Minister Malone informed the House that the two quarantine violators – one from a previous instance – were being investigated by the police.
He said: “The two persons that have violated this so far, they are being questioned by the Royal Virgin Island Police Force and whatever the law dictates at this time would be administered. But, we don’t want your money, we want your safety so we urge everyone to be vigilant, to be resolute in keeping us all safe.”
Close contact residents urged to come forward
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry is appealing to residents who have patronised two popular restaurants over the last few days to contact the Public Health Division to be tested for COVID-19 free of charge.
These businesses include Willy T Restaurant & Bar ( if you visited Friday, December 11 3 pm and 6 pm) and Pusser’s restaurant located in Soper’s Hole, Tortola (if you visited Monday, December 14 between 6:45 pm and 8 pm).
Those persons can contact the Public Health Division at 284-468-2274 or call the government’s medical hotline at 284-852-7650 for a referral.
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