Ag. Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health and Social Development
Telephone: 468-3701 ext. 852 7742
The Ministry of Health and Social Development confirmed the first two imported cases of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 in the British Virgin Islands.
This was announced today during a live broadcast by Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie along with His Excellency the Governor Augutus Jaspert and Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Carvin Malone.
The two patients are male residents with recent travel history to high risk countries who upon arrival back into the Territory, later contacted health authorities, were tested and placed on mandatory quarantine pending their results. The samples was collected and sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), where laboratory tests confirmed positive results today on March 25. The two patients and their close contacts have already been informed and remain under mandatory quarantine at home. Both cases are on Tortola but unrelated.
According to the World Health Organization, the coronavirus disease COVID-19 has already affected 372,757 persons in 196 countries, area and territories. COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person through droplets and contaminated surfaces.
Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Carvin Malone gave an epidemiological summary on the Territory as follows:
Health Minister Honourable Malone also stated that the Ministry of Health and Social Development’s epidemiological unit is taking the necessary steps to prevent the risk of community spread.
“Testing, containments, quarantine, contact tracing and follow-up strategies are on-going and are being carried out around the clock in accordance with the World Health Organization’s technical guidance,” said Honourable Malone.
He also stated that the Ministry of Health and Social Development continues to assess the readiness of health facilities to meet the anticipated increase in demand on services and continues to address existing gaps, including those with respect to additional supplies and equipment being available in the Territory.
The public is reminded that there is no known vaccine and no specific antiviral treatment against the virus. Therefore, prevention is critical to avoid being exposed to COVID-19. Persons should practice everyday preventive actions to help reduce the risk of respiratory viruses by frequent hand-washing, cough and sneeze ettitiquete, avoiding contact with visibly sick people and staying home when feeling ill.
Persons who have recently travelled and show any symptoms such as a fever, cough and difficulty breathing should stay home and seek medical advice early by contacting the medical hotline at 852-7650.