Message by His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Augustus J.U. Jaspert
On The Start of the 14-day Lockdown
4th April, 2020
Good evening all. This is Governor Jaspert. As it has now passed nine o’clock on Saturday 4th April, the Territory-wide full lockdown curfew is now back in place. The full lockdown will be in place for the next 14 days.
This mean that unless you are classified as an essential worker on duty as set out by our government you are now required to stay at home continuously. You should not go out, you should not be on the streets at any time during the day or night for the next 14 days. This means not leaving your house or yard for any reason unless it is an emergency. Police will be patrolling and will enforce the curfew and can arrest for breach of the curfew if necessary.
We know how difficult it is and how restrictive the measures I just said are. We recognise what a sacrifice this will be and we are incredibly grateful to all of you for complying. We are basing our plans on scientific research that has identified how effective isolating ourselves can be in stopping the spread of this virus. As of today, we have 3 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the British Virgin Islands. A further eight samples were sent today for testing, taking the total awaiting test results to 17.
We recognise that the past three days of managed curfew haven’t always gone as smoothly as we would have liked. This is an unprecedented period. We acknowledge that we might have done things differently; we learnt lessons and we adjusted where we could as we went. I am hugely grateful to our business owners, the shops staff and the police in particular for what they did to ensure that whole Territory could access essential supplies in just three days. Whatever lessons we learnt, they do not detract from the hard work and dedication of our shop workers and police officers in incredibly testing times. Thank you.
But tonight, as we go back to full lockdown, I’d like to focus on the opportunity we now have, not what we might have done differently.
We have a unique opportunity to get the next 14 days right. If we all stay in our homes for this period, we will have a much clearer picture of the level of infection in the Territory; how we can stamp it out; and how we can put measures in place to control it. 14 days is the period identified medically to determine if the virus is prevalent. It is vital we all play our part in ensuring that we stick to this lockdown. I will be speaking more about the details of our approach and the medical science behind it over the next week.
But for now, I wanted to say thank you to each and every one of you for the journey we are about to take together. It will be hard, but if short hardship for us means we mitigate against community infection, we will all be the better for it. During this time in lockdown, please try to stay positive for now and the future; keep active mentally and as much as you can physically; stay connected with your families, friends and loved ones, even if that may have to be done online rather than in person.
We know how difficult this is but thank you all for complying. These measures we are taking through Cabinet are driven by one motivation; to protect you and the overall population of the Territory. This is our best chance to reduce the risk that the Coronavirus spreads in our Territory. The better we comply with staying at home the better the chance that is a short disruption to our lives.
Once again, I want to thank all staff in our public and statutory agencies for all that they are doing. In particular, I thank our dedicated health teams and all in the police force as they take forward the measures necessary to protect us.
Finally, I want to thank you for what we are asking everyone in this Territory to do. This is a collective effort and we will succeed, or fail based on what we do collectively as a community.
Stay inside, stay positive and stay healthy.Thank you and may God bless this Territory.