Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Release Date:
Wednesday, 1 April 2020 - 10:18am

Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Carvin Malone has declared the National Action Plan Against the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Honourable Malone made the announcement on March 31 as part of Cabinet Decisions. He said the Territory was at Level ‘Operation Action: Stamp it Out Red Alert’ of the plan since the first positive laboratory case was confirmed.

At this level, the main objective is to rapidly contain the spread and prevent transmission of COVID-19 within the community, especially to vulnerable groups.

Honourable Malone said activities during this level will focus on increasing surveillance and reporting from sentinel site; preparing and supporting health system needs; managing initial cases; identifying and characterising the nature of the disease within the BVI context.  This phase will also provide information to support best practice healthcare, empower the community and responders to manage their own risk of exposure and support effective governance.

Referencing the need for an extended curfew, the Minister for Health explained that the Epidemiology Unit modeled the possible epidemic size and impact of COVID-19 on the Territory when limited measures are put in place.

He said, “If left unchecked, it was estimated that in 12 to 15 days, 10.5 percent to 12 percent of the population would be affected with COVID-19. This equates to 3,750 persons. If left unchecked, calculations showed that in 90 days, 89.8 percent of the population would be infected.”

Honourable Malone stated that in order to limit the active spread of COVID-19, public health prevention and control measures like social distancing, epidemic lockdowns and quarantine management must be implemented early and to a substantial extent in order to be effective.

“Because of low numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the BVI should operate on the assumption that there may be a substantial amount of transmission in the Territory that remains undetected. Underpinning the recommendations is the need to keep the number of infections across the Territory low while the Government ramps up the health system,” the Minister further added.

The British Virgin Islands’ epidemiological summary to date is as follows:

•   52 persons tested in total

•   49 tested negative

•   3 tested positive

•   143 persons self-quarantined due to risk factors.   

The public is reminded that there is no known vaccine and no specific antiviral treatment against the virus. Persons should practice preventive actions every day to help reduce the risk of respiratory viruses by frequent hand-washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, 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.

Author

Adrianna J. Soverall

Ag. Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health and Social Development
Telephone: 468-3701 ext. 852 7742
Email:    asoverall@gov.vg