Authorities in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) have extended a curfew in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) until at least December 3. The curfew will remain in effect nightly between the hours of 02:00 and 05:00 (local time). Workers in essential and critical services are exempt from the curfew.
Individuals are prohibited from operating vessels in Territorial waters between 18:00 and 05:00. The unauthorized operation of vessels within the maritime exclusion zones and across Territorial borders is prohibited. In addition, public gatherings have been restricted to a maximum of 50 persons, with a limit of five people should vulnerable persons be included. A limit of 100 people for faith-based services, graduation, weddings, and funerals is in place.
Most business activity has resumed, although entertainment venues, pools, and some schools remain closed. Social distancing measures and the wearing of facemasks in public places are required. The BVI's borders are closed to most business and tourist travel. Entry is permitted for citizens, residents, permit holders, and students. Freight and cargo vessels and aircraft are also exempt. All those arriving must quarantine for 14 days in pre-approved accommodation.
As of Friday, November 20, there have been 71 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the BVI, with one associated fatality. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
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