Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in the British Virgin Islands to relax curfew to 1900-0600 April 19-June 1. Critical business to resume April 19.

This alert affects British Virgin Islands

This alert began 16 Apr 2020 11:03 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Territorywide (map)
  • Date: Through at least June 1
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) have announced new relaxed measures through early June as part of the territory's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The 24-hour curfew will remain in place April 16-19; all businesses, including supermarkets and pharmacies, will be required to close during this time. Only essential workers are allowed to leave their residences.

A new 1900-0600 curfew will be imposed daily April 19-June 1. Critical businesses will be allowed to resume, including supermarkets/minimarts, bakeries, pharmacies, restaurants (for deliveries and take-out only), bank services, farming and fisheries, fuel stations, hardware stores, construction teams of under 20 people, buses and taxis, and ferries (for inter-island movement within the BVI only). Faith-based organizations with limited gatherings of less than 20 people will be allowed.

All air and seaports remain closed for passengers until further notice; the measure does not apply for freight, cargo, or courier transport. The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport in the country, with an increased police presence in the streets. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the British Virgin Islands government correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks, in response to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 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.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int

Government of the British Virgin Islands: https://bvi.gov.vg