TORTOLA — As British Virgin Islands residents observed the second of 14 consecutive days locked down on Monday afternoon, Health Minister Carvin Malone announced that 17 COVID-19 tests came back as negative from the lab in Trinidad and Tobago.
As of April 6, Malone said there have been 64 coronavirus tests, with 61 negative and three positive.
“All three cases have exhibited mild symptoms and did not require hospitalization,” he said. “All three cases are being tested and retested in accordance with CARPHA’s (Caribbean Public Health Agency) protocol for determining full recovery from COVID-19. We’re providing support to all persons (143) in quarantine and strictly monitoring for signs and symptoms of the disease to ensure appropriate isolation, management or treatment as is necessary.”
The Health Minister said anyone experiencing a fever with cough or having difficulty breathing is encouraged to contact the health hotline at 284-852-7650 for medical assessment and guidance.
“Our mission is to find and isolate any remaining cases of COVID-19 in the territory in order to minimize the risk of community spread and the suffering and loss that this would bring,” Malone said. “As difficult as it is, this is why it’s important to have a 24-hours curfew in place at this time. We invite you to do your part.”
Malone said fisherfolk and farmers can visit their boats and secure their farms and livestock between 6 a.m. and noon, while essential workers’ passes are issued for their duties only. All other activities are deemed violations.
“To some, this might seem like an extreme response when the territory still has only three confirmed cases of the virus,” Malone said. “Those of us tasked with steering the territory through this unprecedented storm have agreed that it is vitally important to take all necessary precautions when it comes to protecting our people. We only have one chance to get this right.”
Premier Andrew Fahie said that despite the 17 negative tests and only three cases, it’s not time for anyone to let down their guard.
“We must adhere to the curfew,” he said. “We are fighting an invisible enemy just like the rest of the world. Once we are allowed to be quarantined up until April 19, the scientific data and analysis shows that we would be able to identify any person who may be infected that we did not catch and we will be able to deal with those pockets much better. If it is one time that we can help to stop the spread of the virus, it is to do something that is so simple to do — and that is, stay home.”