Good day and God’s blessing to all.
Thank you for joining us today for what is an important development with the Coronavirus Disease COVID-19.
I wish to officially announce that the British Virgin Islands today has confirmed its first (two) imported cases of Coronavirus Disease COVID-19.
We received the information this morning and we were taking the time to confirm the details surrounding the cases and we needed to ensure that the patients were notified.
I will share with you the information we have available now, and additional information as soon as it becomes available.
One patient is a 56-year-old male resident who had travelled recently from Europe exhibiting mild symptoms. The male patient arrived on Tortola from the Terrance B. Lettsome Airport on March 15. Because of his travel history and symptoms, this patient contacted the medical hotline on March 16 and was tested on that day and has been in quarantine at his home since then.
Patient B is also a 32-year-old male resident who had travelled recently from New York, USA and came in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 on March 8. The patient arrived on island on March 10. He was notified on March 15 of him coming into contact with a positive case and contacted the Medical Hotline on the same day. He was tested on March 16 and remained in quarantine at his home since then.
Both cases are unrelated.
The samples were 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 are under mandatory quarantine at home.
The two patients infection were travel-related.
However, the Ministry of Health and Social Development’s epidemiological unit is taking the necessary steps to prevent the risk of community spread. You will hear more from the Minister of Health on those specific measures.
This is not the time for anyone to fear.
Instead, let us continue to take every precautionary measure to prevent the virus from spreading.
Practice social distancing. Wash and sanitize hands regularly. Avoid touching the face. Cover your mouth when you cough. If you feel sick, do not go to the doctor.
Call the medical hotline at 852-7650, so that you can get the appropriate treatment and to protect others. Vigilance is very important.
We all have an individual responsibility to do not become complacent. We have to now protect each other.
People of the Virgin Islands, we must continue to do your part. Each of you must ‘keep you safe’, so that everyone else can be safe.
I want to reiterate that your Government has been and continue to be fully transparent with you in this matter of protecting your health, safety and welfare, and that of your loved ones.
We have been providing regular updates on all relevant information.
We are working round the clock because this is a fluid situation and we know you are concerned, but now is the time for all of us to remain calm.
There is no need to feel ashamed or to stigmatise anyone who gets tested. We have to look out for each other, for in doing so we are looking out for ourselves.
We can and we will successfully overcome the challenges of this time. Our God is with us and he has seen us through many challenges. Let us continue to pray and to take the precautions. Let us continue to unite in the face of adversity, and we will prevail. Let us continue to do our part so that all would be well.
May God continue to watch over His Virgin Islands people.