Detected flaws in the neighbouring United States Virgin Islands’ (USVI) travel protocols have been linked to a further increase of positive COVID-19 cases in the that territory. The USVI detected 58 new cases in two days to now jump to 179 active cases.
This is according to an article published by the Virgin Islands Consortium on Saturday.
The news agency said one of their reporters, while returning to the USVI, noticed that some passengers travelling on the same flight as the reporter did not have COVID-19 test results but were allowed to exit the airport after merely filling out a document.
In response to the observed flaws, USVI Governor Albert Bryan issued a statement saying his administration will be working to resolve the issue within the coming weeks by introducing mandatory testing and fines for non-compliant persons.
He said: “Individuals who come to the territory without a negative test will be mandated to be tested at a personal cost … Those who refuse to be tested will be fined and subject to a 14-day quarantine.”
“The only delay to this being implemented is the availability of tests and testing, as well as the software changes needed for a smooth transition to this format … We were successful in joining the new initiative by American Airlines to provide pre-boarding testing and will continue to pursue this with other airline partners,” the USVI governor added.
BVI taking a sterner approach
In contrast to the USVI’s approach to travel protocols, the BVI has taken a stern approach with their protocols for all persons entering into the territory.
In order for travellers to be granted access into the BVI, they must first register to the BVI Gateway Portal no later than 48 hours before their trip. Once on the portal, the traveller will be required to input all the relevant information, including a mandatory negative COVID-19 test result.
The portal will also facilitate the payment of the $175 fee, which covers all airport administration fees, another COVID test upon entry and on Day 4 of their arrival, and GPS monitoring bracelets.
Once the registration has been successfully completed, the traveller will receive a travel certificate which will be issued to the airline prior to travel to the BVI. All persons entering the territory will be subjected to a mandatory four-day quarantine period.
Fines for all breaches
To ensure that these measures are adhered to, the BVI government took a further step to pass legislation that allows for all persons in breach of any of the measures to be fined.
Persons who tamper with any of the monitoring devices can be fined $125, unauthorised visits during quarantine will reward a fine of $500, while any person in breach of any of guidelines or protocols will be fined $1,000.
Low case numbers to date
This approach has led the BVI in maintaining a very low positive COVID-19 case total following their December 1 reopening date. Since the reopening, officials were able to detect three positive COVID-19 cases which were all caught during the quarantine phase.
The BVI’s stern approach to their COVID-19 protocols also led to authorities pushing the December 8 date for the reopening of local sea borders to January 21, 2021.
This is to allow the authorities more time to put in place the necessary systems to ensure the Road Town Ferry Terminal is fully capable to safely manage customers come January next year.
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