BVI News

Select travellers banned! Social gatherings now limited to 30 persons

Even funerals cannot host more than 30 persons at a time.

While announcing heighten travel restrictions to the BVI, the Andrew Fahie-led administration has issued a new advisory that requires residents to limit the number of persons at social gatherings; including funerals and weddings.

“Cabinet also agreed that all social gatherings — faith-based, sporting, cultural, recreational and commercial activities and other non-essential events — are advised to restrict numbers to a limit of 30 persons at a time, and a maximum of 10 people for those in vulnerable categories,” Premier Andrew Fahie said via a live news conference on Tuesday.

The Premier, who was addressing the nation on the plans and programmes being taken by his administration towards the Novel Coronavirus, said the advisory will take effect from Thursday and will last for 30 days.

Premier Fahie also announced that the advisory would also extend to hospitality establishments in the territory.

“Cabinet agreed that restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other entertainment and hospitality services are advised to implement sanitisation and social distancing measures within their establishments, as advised by the Ministry of Health and Social Development.”

Travel restrictions 

Meanwhile, the Cabinet of the Virgin Islands has agreed to prohibit air and sea travel of certain passengers to the territory.

Also coming into effect from Thursday, passengers who are not nationals, Belongers, work permit holders, persons ordinarily resident in the territory, or are not dependents of these categories of persons will not be allowed to enter the British Virgin Islands if they have travelled to, from or through countries specified on the Special Interest Group List and the Very High-Risk Country List within the 14 days or less.

He said the lists, which are constantly reviewed, now include China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain, Germany, United States of America, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Norway.

“The travel restriction will not apply to flight crews, diplomats or freight, cargo or courier craft or vessels,” Premier Fahie further said.

“All these decisions have been made to put you the people of the Virgin Islands first. I want to take this opportunity to remind all persons to exercise the necessary precaution to protect themselves, their families and the entire population,” he added.

Premier Fahie then reminded residents to practice social distancing, regular hand-washing and covering the mouth when you cough, and minimising movement, and avoiding touching the face.

“Remember, if you feel sick, do not go to the doctor. Instead, call the medical hotline at 852-7650, so that you can get the appropriate treatment and to protect others. Vigilance is very important,” Fahie said.

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21 Comments

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  1. Mary from the US says:

    Do we fall under this criteria:

    Also coming into effect from Thursday, passengers who are not nationals, Belongers, work permit holders, persons ordinarily resident in the territory, or are not dependents of these categories of persons will not be allowed to enter the British Virgin Islands if they have travelled to, from or through countries specified on the Special Interest Group List and the Very High-Risk Country List within the 14 days or less.

    He said the lists, which are constantly reviewed, now include China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain, Germany, United States of America, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Norway.

  2. Sigh of Relief says:

    Great news, especially the travel ban on the list of mentioned countries.

    Good looking out, Premier.

    Like 10
    Dislike 2
  3. Mary from the US says:

    Apparently we do fall under that criteria. 🙁 So sad. Hope we can make our trip when this is all over. Stay safe!

  4. Anonymous says:

    We are in USVI on a yacht; can we enter BVI today or after 19th?

    Like 1
    Dislike 5
  5. YOUTH says:

    We thank the Government for their efforts.

  6. Ok says:

    Define dependents? Children, husbands, wives, common law spouse etc ?

  7. Lilly says:

    common law. Please define.

  8. God is good says:

    People of the bvi gave your life to god he is the answer to everything.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  9. E. Leonard says:

    The Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) is a relative new, serious disease that there is yet no specific treatment or vaccine for. Nonetheless, even if there were treatment and vaccine for it, everyone should avoid contracting it. Everyone should take extraordinary practical actions to avoid contracting it. On the national/territorial level, every available means should be employed to prevent, contain, control, and mitigate it.

    Government has taken action(s) to management this declared pandemic, ie, closing public and private schools, limiting public gathering to 30 people, encouraging social distancing, limiting visits to institutions (prison, elderly home), providing guidance on hygiene practices, suspending cruise ships visits for 30 days, restricting immigration to locals, belongers, permit holders….etc, reducing ports of entry to three locales………etc.

    Moreover, the government’s actions taken to manage the pandemic will undoubtedly impose financial hardships on some residents, especially workers in the tourism sector. From my vantage point, government had to strike a delicate balance between public health and safety and the adverse impact on the economy and the workforce. The question is should the HOA appropriate funding to help affected workers? Another area of immediate concern is the potential surge of infections on the capacity and capability of the medical system.

    In recents day’s on television, radio, social media, and electronic and print media, there have been much discussion on flattening the curve and dampening the wave. Taking actions to flatten the curve is important. As noted earlier, the Coronavirus is new with no specific treatment nor vaccine. Thus, it is imperative to take action to prevent, contain, control and mitigate the contraction of the virus.

    Further, the VI is a small, relative remote locale with a limited health/hospital system surge capacity, ie, limited hospital beds, doctors, nurses, laboratory and other technicians, ventilators, respirators, along with other health professionals and medical equipment. Consequently, a surge in infections could stress and strain the health/hospital system. Community collective actions, behaviours…….etc are needed to avoid putting unnecessary stress and strain on the hospital/health system.

    If the health/hospital system is overwhelm, the medical professionals may be put in an unenviable position having to make some tough medical choices. Protecting against this virus is not only government’s responsibility but also the whole territory.

    [Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional and the above is just my opinion]

    Like 19
    • Quiet Rebel says:

      “If the health/hospital system is overwhelm, the medical professionals may be put in an unenviable position having to make some tough medical choices.” Indeed, if the health system is overwhelm, it will exacerbate already health crisis situation.

    • Diaspora says:

      The fear of a major outbreak and the lack health system surge capacity are two troubling actions. Fear of contracting the virus is one thing but treatment capacity and capability is yet another. The VI must work feverishly to prevent residents from contracting the virus and build surge capacity to effectively treat them if they get infected.

    • Eagle & Buffalo says:

      The US and other advanced countries with Hugh quality and quantitative health system is freaking out about the lack of lack of surge capacity to counter a major infections outbreak. And the VI and small locales should hsve the same or greater concerns. It will take collective and individual sacrifices to get through this Coronavirus pandemic. This is the greatest threat and most trying time that most VI residents have faced in their lifetimes. True, there was the 1918 Spanish Flue Pandemic, the deadliest in history, that killed between 20-50 million people but few residents have lived through it. This is an existential crisis.

      It is time to get serious and batten down the hatches. It is not time for evolution incremental steps; it is time for bold and revolutionary actions. All hands need to get on deck and put their hands on the plough to the wheel. This is war and the VI must take a war posture; the enemy is the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19). And as the Dawg say in his hit Ting to Talk CD, “get up, get up….” It is time to lock down and shelter in place.

      [Lets lead like eagles, not careen off the cliff like buffaloes]

      • Political Observer (PO) says:

        This World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) a pandemic and it is an existential threat to VI and its approx 34,000 residents. As noted above and by others, the territory has been taking steps to prevent, contain, control and mitigate this pandemic. However, as highlighted above, a major concern is the capacity and capability of the medical system to handle a surge in infections.

        Many developed countries health systems are struggling to cope with infection surges. For example, Italy, a developed country with a population of 60,000,000 and with a top rated medical system, is being swamped with the surge in infections. It lacked the hospital beds, ventilators, respirators……etc to deal with the surge in demand. Similarly, the US is fearing a surge in infections and impact on its medical system. And if developed countries are fearful of surges on their medical systems, surges will be a heavy lift for developing countries, including the VI. Nonetheless, the BVI must build its infrastructure capability and capacity to deal with a surge.

  10. Love for my Country says:

    Can someone please explain how to keep a funeral crowd to 30 when immediate families are more than that? how can you keep people away from attending the funeral?

    • Quiet Rebel says:

      Agree, it is challenging to keep a typical VI funeral below 30 people. VI residents culturally like to attend a funeral to give the deceased family member, friend,co-worker…….etc a good send off; they do it to support the family.

      However, these are trying and challenging times. The Coronavirus pandemic is an existential threat to the VI population. There is no treatment or vaccine for it and every effort should be made to prevent, contain and mitigate it. Thus, the best current action is social distancing.

      The choice for holding a traditional funeral is up to the family. If a traditional service is preferred, then the current restrictions that were mandated to protect public health and safety must be followed. There are other streamlined burial options available to a family, ie, a private family burial. It is an emotional time for family; however, public interest must trump individual interest.

  11. can we says:

    what about the churches….

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