ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Amid criticisms from some persons that the protocols for visitors to the Virgin Islands are too stringent, Premier and Minister of Finance with the portfolio for Tourism, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has said the protocols are actually “more accomodating” than many countries.
During a press conference last night, October 28, 2020, Premier Fahie was at the time responding to critics who claimed that the stringent protocols that were revealed on Monday night, October 26, 2020, were driving potential tourists away.
Some of the measures include a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) prior to arrival, and within eight days, a total of three more tests would be done before visitors can be allowed to roam freely in the territory.
As it relates to the PCR test on the eighth day, Health and Social Development Minister Honourable Carvin Malone(AL) said it would be reviewed with the health experts.
Visitors would also need to have bracelets and other tracking device mechanisms that would enable the authorities to trace contacts if the need arises.
Protocols are to protect all
“There are positive and negative developments taking place around the world with COVID-19 and with the travel and tourism industries, and some of these things have implications for us in the BVI whether positive or negative. Your government’s commitment remains to doing whatever is possible to safely get our businesses back up and running and our people back into jobs,” he remarked.
“No one and no plight has been forgotten, those situations that have not yet been resolved are being worked on. We cannot afford for when we reopen for us to have an outbreak and then be forced, as many other countries have been to roll back or shut down. The protocols we announced last night are for the protection of our visitors, for our workers, for the public, and for our businesses and I ask that you give them a chance and in the areas of concern, please feel free to highlight them so that we can discuss and see the areas that are possible for any kind of adjustments,” he added.
VI’s protocols are good
In the meantime, Premier Fahie said, the evidence is clear that there are countries that do not use adequate control measures experience a rise in COVID-19 infections because this is a science that we have to be guided by.
“Among the countries that are having better results through control measures, the evidence is also there that the BVI’s measures are more accommodating to visitors than that of many other destinations,” he pointed out.
Premier Fahie further explained: “In many of these destinations the quarantine period for COVID-19 negative visitors is 14 days. This means that the visitors are confined to the accommodation property, paying to do so for 14 days. The BVI’s methods facilitate some limited movements after four days in the territory and unrestricted movement after eight days of being in the territory. And again, we are willing to listen to you the people to be able to make adjustments where possible so that we do not compromise the health and safety of our people while doing so.”
In addition, the Premier mentioned that these destinations have PCR testing on arrival, and a second PCR test prior to the end of the quarantine period.
“The BVI’s inclusion of a test on day four helps in providing the assurance that it is safe to permit the visitors to do some limited movement. Most other jurisdiction do not have this,” he stated.