Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Authorities in the British Virgin Islands impose a 24-hour curfew on Jost Van Dyke through at least July 28 due to COVID-19 activity.
- Alert Begins: 22 Jul 2020 11:23 AM UTC
- Alert Expires: 29 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Territorywide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: International travel and business disruptions
Authorities in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) have imposed a 24 hour-curfew on Jost Van Dyke, one of the four main islands in the BVI, in response to contact tracing information related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measure took effect July 21 and will remain in place through at least 0501 July 28. During this time, residents are not permitted to leave their homes except for medical emergencies. Officials announced that contingencies would be put in place for the provision of food and other essential supplies.
Disease-related restrictions on all other islands remain unchanged. The existing 0001-0500 curfew and other movement restrictions have been extended through at least July 30. Most restrictions on businesses, movements, and recreational activities have been lifted, though some remain. All businesses are allowed to operate subject to inspection and under strict health protocols. The public is urged to practice social distancing and adhere to proper hygiene protocols. Beaches are now open anytime outside the curfew. Mass gatherings for faith-based organizations, graduations, weddings, and funerals are permitted under physical distancing requirements, with one person per 64 square feet, and up to 100 people.
Officials have begun the gradual reopening of the BVI's air and sea ports. Citizens and permanent residents of the BVI have been permitted to re-enter the islands since June 4; however, as of July 22, nonresident foreign nationals are still banned. Sea ports were previously opened for domestic inter-island passenger transportation. The movement of private vessels is permitted 0500-1900, and ferries are permitted to operate at any time outside the curfew. There are no restrictions on air freight, sea cargo, or courier transport. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.
Background and Analysis
Several governments globally have implemented recovery plans to lift restrictive measures introduced in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11. Premier Andrew Fahie previously stated that the decision to relax the measures was taken to rebuild the economy and grow the BVI's National Flow of Income and allow economic recovery. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, previously relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions. Authorities could impose highly targeted localized measures in some areas, as they have done on Jost Van Dyke.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.