Archive for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

BVI: Next Steps on the Curfew

His Excellency the Governor, J. U Jaspert Statement on The Next Steps on the Curfew

1 September, 2020

Good day to all,

Thank you for joining us this morning. I stand here with the Honourable Premier and Honourable Minister for Health to deliver an update on our COVID-19 response and for us to set out the next stage in our response.

Yesterday, Cabinet met to review our current COVID-19 measures and the newly identified cases of COVID-19 within the Territory – which now stands at 38 active cases.  The Minister of Health will set out more details on the current health situation including the huge amount of work being done by medical professionals to test and trace the virus. Our law enforcement agencies have also been doing good work to ensure our safety, including our maritime security, which is essential to protecting against imported cases and transmission. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them.

We – your Government – have always said that an agile response to COVID-19 is required. Cabinet must constantly review the data, expert opinions and the challenges before us and adapt.  Just as important as the efforts of medical professionals and law enforcers, is the efforts of our community. The time has come for us to adapt again to fight this virus and protect our islands. We have moved to the next phase in our response plans – and we need everyone to support us in this.

Let me start by saying, we are not introducing a full 24 hour lockdown in BVI. Whilst this is an option, it comes with significant cost – economically, socially,and mentally. Therefore, we want to avoid this if at all possible, so not to put additional hardship on individuals who are already facing a very challenging time.

It is also worth remembering that we are facing a long-term threat from this virus, a threat which would not disappear if BVI was to go into lockdown for a couple of weeks. Much as we would like it, we cannot plan for being completely COVID-19 free in the near future and it would be unrealistic to do so. It could be many months, even longer, until the world emerges from this period. So instead, we need to use the next period to learn to function with COVID-19 so that our society and economy can keep going in the long-term, rather than repeatedly closing and opening.

The best way to do this and stop transmission is to adapt our behaviours. That means social distancing, wearing face masks, following hygiene measures and limiting chances for transmission through a curfew.

Therefore, a new Curfew Order will come into force tomorrow for two weeks.  From Wednesday 2 September the following key measures will apply:

  • There will be a hard lock-down from 1:01 p.m. each day until 5:00 a.m. each morning.   This means you must stay within the confines of your home or yard between these hours.
  • We need everyone to stay at home as much as possible. The limited hours of movement are for essential trips only, such as purchasing groceries or medicine or taking limited exercise.
  • Please do not gather in groups, visit another household or engage in non-essential activities. When you do go out, you must wear a face mask that fully covers your nose and mouth.
  • During the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 1pm a limited number of essential businesses will be open. Every establishment – businesses, offices and shops – must ensure their staff and customers maintain a 6ft distance inside and outside of the establishment and that everyone wears a face mask. They must provide hand sanitation facilities, ensure thorough and regular cleaning and put policies in place for staff and customers to report symptoms.
  • The restrictions on movement of vessels on the Territorial waters remain in place – there is no movement allowed except for those authorised to do so.
  • All beaches will be closed at 12 noon to ensure individuals can be back at home by 1:00 p.m. in compliance with the curfew. You may only visit beaches for exercise, not for meeting with groups or having parties.
  • Schools remain closed and this position will be reviewed every two weeks for which the Minister of Education can set out more detail. Teachers will be allowed to access their classrooms to prepare learning materials and online resources.

To ensure full compliance, we are enhancing the Police enforcement and Social Monitoring Task Force who will be visiting establishments and patrolling public places. There will be a zero-tolerance policy for individuals or businesses breaking the rules. The law is being changed to remove warnings for first offences. If you are found to be breaking the curfew or failing to wear a face mask or social distance, you could be issued a fine on the spot – $100 for individuals and $1000 for businesses. Businesses can risk being shut down if they fail to enforce social distancing measures or open without authorisation.  Individuals will also be able to report non-compliance or any concerns to the Police by calling 311.  Please all take responsibility for keeping us all safe.

As you would expect, we must reorganise some parts of the public service to meet the new demand for social monitoring, public health planning and the overall COVID-19 response. Officers from across the public service will be reassigned as required to support the Social Monitoring Task Force. They will hold responsibility for enforcing the measures and monitoring compliance. We aim to continue our business as usual work and provide essential services to the public – albeit via digital channels or whilst working remotely. I’d like to say thank you to the public service for their flexibility and dedication at this time.

I’ll shortly hand over to the Minister for Health who will go into more detail on the reasons behind these measures. The Premier will then set out details from Cabinet discussions.

I’d like to close by making a final appeal to the public to please comply with these measures – namely, stay at home, follow the curfew, wear face coverings and social distance. The past week or so has been a sobering reminder of the threat we face. I know most people have been complying with the measures and I’d like to say thank you to each of you. Your actions have made a real difference and helped to keep us safe.

To those individuals and businesses not complying – this is the moment you need to change the approach for the sake of the community. Failure to follow these measures is selfish and puts everyone at risk. The only way to avoid a full 24 hour lockdown is for every single individual to comply.

I know it must feel as though your Government is asking a lot of you. I know that many people have lost their incomes and faced a great deal of uncertainty and stress over the past months. This period has been extremely hard for us all. How we manage the next phase will be crucial as we continue to learn to manage with COVID-19 and balance our society and economy with the health threat. We will be successful if we remain together as a community to fight this virus united.

So please, stay at home, protect each other and help us overcome COVID-19.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Saint Lucia Welcomes Caribbean Visitors Through “Bubblecation” Campaign

The Caribbean’s Leading Destination Marketing brand, Caribcation, has just introduced its latest marketing campaign, “Bubblecation”. Travellers from countries within the designated Travel Bubble can reconnect with family and friends or enjoy a romantic getaway in Saint Lucia.

The Bubble Countries approved by the Department of Health and Wellness currently include; Antigua, Barbuda, Aruba, Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos.

Visitors within the Bubble Countries with a travel history from these areas in the last 21 days will be exempt from quarantine; however, they are required to obtain a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Negative test result no more than seven (7) days prior to date of travel, and are subject to mandatory screening on arrival. Bubble Visitors are also subject to all applicable on-island protocols including testing, quarantine and isolation where necessary.

“We look forward to welcoming back our Caribbean brothers and sisters through Bubblecation, which for us, would be a wonderful avenue to again share our common cultures and friendship. The important Caribbean market welcomes well over 85,000 visitors annually and with the commencement of commercial flights within the region we anticipate a positive growth trajectory.” Said Christopher Gustave – Marketing Manager for Caribbean and Events.

Visitors within the bubble desirous of traveling to Saint Lucia are to prefill the mandatory Arrival Registration Form located on www.stlucia.org/covid-19 .

Additionally, visitors can utilize www.caribcation.org to assist in direct bookings of their accommodation at a wide variety of authentic community properties which include; villas, Airbnb properties and small hotels.

Airlines around the region including Caribbean Airlines, One Caribbean, Air Antilles, and Inter Caribbean have committed to serving the region. Travellers should check with the airlines for flight schedules.

The health and safety of our local communities remain paramount and as such, with the scheduled resumption of regional aviation services in the weeks ahead, Caribcation will work with approved sector operators including accommodation properties, car rentals, restaurants, tour operators, shopping centers, Taxi Associations, yachting and water based adventure tour providers to create a safe visitor experience.

Interested approved operators should sign up at www.caribcation.org or call 1-758 458-7101 for more information.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Stakeholder COVID-19 Safety Training Sessions Commence on Nevis for “Travel Approved Seal”

The Nevis Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Tourism, in conjunction with the Nevis Tourism Authority, has begun conducting a series of Covid-19 safety protocol training sessions for all stakeholders on the island.  This is a crucial step in the overall preparation for reopening the island to international travelers.  Upon the successful completion of the seminars, stakeholders will be awarded the “St. Kitts and Nevis Travel Approved Seal”, a validation that the establishment is safe to visit.

The “Travel Approved Seal” is a program developed by the St. Kitts Tourism Authorities that will clearly identify the establishments and operators within the tourism industry who have undergone the required training to meet the minimum health and safety COVID-19 protocols.

The “Travel Approved Seal” training seminars are being offered to all Nevisian tourism stakeholders for two weeks starting July 27th, 2020.  The sessions run twice daily, except Thursdays, from 8 am to 11:30 am and from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm.  They are led by consultants under the direction of the Ministry and Health, the Ministry of Tourism and the Nevis Tourism Authority.

Training is mandatory and all stakeholders will be contacted in their respective sectors. This includes taxi operators, attractions, hotels, retail stores, tour operators (water and land based e.g. catamarans and ATV operators), watersports, vendors and beach bars.  Once the required training has been completed, the establishment will receive a physical and digital certification as a travel approved operation. Stakeholders who fail to meet the minimum standards to obtain the ‘Travel Approved Seal’ will not be allowed to operate and serve the public, and the Nevis Tourism Authority and its partners will not promote them in the source markets.

According to the CEO of the Nevis Tourism Authority, Jadine Yarde, “This mandatory training for all stakeholders on the island in health and safety protocols for Covid-19 is a very important step in our reopening process.  As we prepare to reopen, it sends a clear message that we care deeply about the health and safety of both our visitors and our residents.  The world as we knew it has been upended and everyone in the community must work together and remain vigilant in order to minimize any problems with Covid-19 once we begin receiving our international visitors”.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected every aspect of the tourism industry, and significantly constrained economic development.  The “Travel Approved Seal” certification process is one initiative that moves all stakeholders closer to a phased reopening.  When the island is ready to accept travelers, they will have the assurance that every effort has been made to protect their health and they can enjoy their experiences in Nevis with confidence.

For travel and tourism information on Nevis please visit the Nevis Tourism Authority  website at  www.nevisisland.com; and follow us on Instagram (@nevisnaturally), Facebook (@nevisnaturally), YouTube (nevisnaturally) and Twitter (@Nevisnaturally).

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Air Canada Resumes Scheduled Service to Pure Grenada

With the opening of Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport on July 15, as part of the Government of Grenada’s phased strategy to restart the destination’s tourism industry, Air Canada will resume scheduled service to the tri-island nation of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique on August 10. Canada is included in the Medium Risk Countries due to active but manageable transmission, however visitors traveling from these destinations are still required to agree to and observe mandatory protocols prior to booking and on arrival to the island.

“This is a huge step for Pure Grenada, as we continue to observe a measured approach to reopening the destination to international travelers,” commented Patricia Maher, CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA). “As one of our key source markets, we are pleased to know that we will be able to welcome back visitors from Canada. While we are happy to have visitors explore our vibrant culture and immersive activities, we encourage all travelers to be mindful and ensure they adhere to the current advisories implemented to ensure their health and safety while visiting Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean.”

There are opportunities to explore, relax and unwind on Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean. With diverse offerings such as culinary, soft adventure, romance, leisure, and sailing experiences targeting a varied audience including solo travelers, couples and families, travelers can easily tailor their trip based on their passion or to satisfy their curiosity.

Air Canada’s weekly scheduled flight will operate on Mondays, utilizing the carrier’s main line as opposed to the Rouge that was used in the past. The flight will depart Toronto Pearson International Airport at 9:00 a.m. and arrive at Maurice Bishop International Airport at 2:05 p.m. The return flight leaves Grenada at 3:00 p.m. and arrives in Toronto at 8:25 p.m.

For complete details on required travel protocols and general destination information, visit www.puregrenada.com.

 

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Anguilla’s Executive Council Issues COVID-19 Update

Anguilla’s Executive Council met on July 24th to consider matters relating to COVID-19 in Anguilla.   H.E. Governor Tim Foy and the Hon. Premier Dr. Ellis Webster released the following statement on July 25th, 2020.

Cases/Suspected Cases – There are no active or suspected cases of COVID-19 in Anguilla.

Border Closure – As of July 31st, the following categories or persons will be allowed to enter and leave Anguilla subject to approval:

  • Medical emergencies and evacuations;
  • Persons wishing to leave Anguilla;
  • Repatriation of Anguillians from countries and territories with active cases of  less than 0.2% of the population, who must comply with all relevant protocols and quarantine rules;
  • Visitors from countries and territories with active cases of less than 0.2% of the population, who must comply with all relevant protocols and quarantine rules.

Based on the current situation borders will remain closed for regular commercial passenger movements until at least October 31st.

Repatriation – Based on the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation globally, particularly the significant increase in cases in the Americas, Executive Council has extended the suspension of repatriations from countries and territories with an active case prevalence of more than 0.2%.  This suspension is effective immediately and will remain in place until August 7th at the earliest.

Playing Your Part – The steps we have all been taking are helping to keep us safe. No active cases does not mean we should stop hygienic practices or respiratory etiquette. So once again we urge all Anguillians to take the simple steps that save lives:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, or in the crook of a flexed elbow
  • Frequently clean and disinfect shared spaces and work surfaces, and
  • Avoid contact with persons suffering from or exhibiting symptoms of acute respiratory infections such as the flu, coughs and colds

The Ministry of Health has established two COVID_19 hotlines: 1-264-476-7627 (476-SOAP) and 1-264-584- 4263 (584-HAND).  The most recent guidance and information can be accessed at www.beatcovid19.ai .

For information on Anguilla, please visit the official website of the Anguilla Tourist Board: www.IvisitAnguilla.com; follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/AnguillaOfficial; Instagram: @Anguilla_Tourism; Twitter: @Anguilla_Trsm, Hashtag: #MyAnguilla.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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