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Visitors will be screened at ports of entries for Coronavirus – Hon Carvin Malone

- said more screening equipment to be purchased
Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Carvin Malone (AL) has said the Territory will be screening persons at the ports of entries for possible Coronavirus infection. Photo: VINO
Persons at the community meeting held at the Valerie O. Thomas Community Centre in Sea Cows Bay, Tortola on January 30, 2020. The meeting was called by Third District Representative, Hon Julian Fraser, RA. Photo: VINO
Persons at the community meeting held at the Valerie O. Thomas Community Centre in Sea Cows Bay, Tortola on January 30, 2020. The meeting was called by Third District Representative, Hon Julian Fraser, RA. Photo: VINO
A passenger being screened for the Coronavirus at an airport in Pakistan. Photo: Incpak
A passenger being screened for the Coronavirus at an airport in Pakistan. Photo: Incpak
SEA COWS BAY, Tortola, VI- Visitors to the Virgin Islands will be screened at the air and seaports as local authorities’ attempt to play their part in preventing Coronavirus-carrying persons from spreading the virus in the Territory.

Minister for Health and Social Development Hon Carvin Malone (AL) said this was one part of their prevention plan against the virus which has now been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation.

The virus has infected 9,692 persons across the globe and killed 213, according to media reports.

“We have a number of equipment that can point straight in your forehead and take your temperatures, and so we are going to have that implemented and we going to purchase a number of these so that whether it is at the airports, the seaports, so we would be able to deploy persons who can use these equipment so that we can test persons for high fevers and after that, we can then monitor where you’ve travelled in the past days,” the Minister said at the Valerie O. Thomas Community Center in Sea Cows Bay last night, January 30, 2020.

He continued: “In the hospital, we have four quarantine areas. The health care administration folks are already on guard because the protocol for this had been experienced during the Sars virus attack and the other viruses and epidemics that we had, but the hospital is ready in terms of doing this. We have a 14 day quarantine period, and if we need to expand this area, there are provisions that we have already looked at where we can get additional rooms.”

The Minister revealed that these measures were from a cabinet meeting that took place on Thursday, January 30, 2020, following several meetings with stakeholders in that regard.

Enhanced surveillance

In addition, Minister Malone said there would be enhanced surveillance for acute respiratory infections.

“We have increased public health education and awareness, focusing on the Coronavirus. We have made recommendations, recommending everyone to take preventative measures such as proper handwashing techniques, encouraging the use of personal equipment by health workers so that they would be able to protect themselves. We will be conducting training programmes, implementing advanced processes for the effective management of ill passengers at all ports of entry,” he remarked.

“There is a quarantine area that we have to look at, at the various ports also. This is either going to be a fixed area where if someone is suspected and they are questioned, then they could be quarantined until they can be taken to a more permanent quarantine area for a 14 day period. If we don’t have the space then there have medical tents that we will set up for this particular purpose,” he added.

Doing what it takes

The Health Minister said his ministry was “going to make sure that whatever is required to have the populace safe and sound that it is done.” 

In addition, plans are underway to meet with other countries in relations to their procedures for screening.

He explained: “Because our passengers they come in through St Thomas and they come over here, they fly to Puerto Rico, St Maarten, St Kits, from international ports to come here. So that at the end of the day if they are doing the screening when we do additional screening, we know that we have done all that we could to identify the various cases and make sure that this is done in a way that will be pleasing to the populace and it would be prudent to make sure that we catch it early and have it done.”

Regarding cruise passengers, Hon Malone said the cruise industry has some of the most rigid health safeguards in place and so the VI would have no need to screen thousands of cruise passengers at the ports.

He noted; however, that cruise ships are required to notify the Territory 24 hours in advance if anyone on board has fallen sick, regardless of the illness.

8 Responses to “Visitors will be screened at ports of entries for Coronavirus – Hon Carvin Malone”

  • Research (31/01/2020, 08:37) Like (18) Dislike (3) Reply
    If you research you’ll see that this disease was Patented around 2014 it’s nothing new, same old games “create and release” to see what results you get... #Agenda21
  • Sensible (31/01/2020, 12:25) Like (9) Dislike (2) Reply
    Let's be sensible...the cruise ships are not going to report illnesses. It would cost them money and all they care about is money. Cruise shippers should be screened as well. But it will never happen. Because it is all about the almighty dollar.
    • wow (31/01/2020, 20:01) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      If you don't know, the cruiseship industry is a billion dollar industry. Like you said, they're all about their money and that is the exact reason why they report the illnesses as they are supposed to or they will be fined. If you are not versed in these things, please don't speak about it.
  • Ghost (31/01/2020, 13:28) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    It’s nice to know that measures are being out in place at the hospital.. I do hope that we’re serious regarding the screening at the ports in that when we had the Ebola outbreak I heard one of the officers at the airport that met the place asking anyone if they flew from Africa which I thought
    was so stupid.. also I observed at the ferry dock persons not being screened and walked right through.. I just shook my head.. shameful.. for years I have been speaking about having proper “port health” in place but no one has been listening.. we are a reactionary country... may God be Merciful to all of us and rid the world of this dangerous virus.. to the powers that be; again PLEASE put proper port health in place at all of ports..
    • Pray tell (31/01/2020, 19:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Pray tell, what is proper port health? Taking temperatures is proper port health? I beseech you to read the international health regulations 2005.
  • NezRez (31/01/2020, 19:15) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    How in the world are you going to test every person on entry? This would take forever and a day. Plus, if they are already in the BVI, they have spread this germ to everyone entering with them from the plane or the boat. All they would have to do is sneeze or cough, then everyone is in trouble.
  • Hmm.. (01/02/2020, 02:29) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    I like how this article is published and I don't see nothing happening at the ports, no quarantine areas, no health personal at the ports, nothing. When this started, your officers at all ports should've have had training, education, preparedness immediately! Your officers have families! Their children go to school with your children! If that virus ever reaches our shores, HEAVENS FORBID, I hope something is in place by then! Why are we always so late to react?
  • Captain (02/02/2020, 09:28) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I flew in yesterday, there was no screening.

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