Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: British Virgin Islands impose new 1300-0600 curfew April 27-May 11 due to coronavirus (COVID-19) actvity. Some businesses to reopen.

This alert affects British Virgin Islands

This alert began 25 Apr 2020 12:41 GMT and is scheduled to expire 11 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Territorywide (map)
  • Time Frame: April 27-May 11
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) will impose a new daily curfew between 1300-0600, during the period April 27-May 11. The new measure will replace the 24-hour curfew which expires April 25, and is part of continued efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Only essential workers are allowed to leave their residences during curfew hours.

The Premier also announced the gradual easing of restrictions on businesses from April 27. Certain businesses will be allowed to operate under strict sanitization and social distancing protocols between 0600-1300. These businesses and services include supermarkets, bakeries, fisheries and farmers, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations, domestic inter-island ferries, buses and taxis, construction companies, building, and concrete supplies businesses, laundromats, home delivery services, office supplies businesses, insurance, legal and financial services that cannot be carried out remotely, automotive parts and repairs, manufacturers of hand sanitizers and personal protection equipment (PPEs), water and ice production and deliveries, and approved emergency household and business repairs companies.

All air and seaports remain closed for international passenger transportation until further notice; the measure does not apply for air freight, cargo, or courier transport. Cargo seaports at Port Purcell, Tortola, and Saint Thomas Bay, and Virgin Gorda will be allowed to operate 0700-1200 Mondays-Saturdays, and 0800-1200 on Sundays under the new curfew measures.

The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport in the country. Authorities will likely keep an increased police presence deployed to enforce the restrictions. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the BVI government correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks, in response to the spread of COVID-19. Premier Andrew Fahie has stated that the decision to relax some measures has been taken to rebuild the economy and grow the BVI's National Flow of Income. Should the number of COVID-19 cases increase, relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo.

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.

 


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