The Government has opted to roll back the island-wide lockdown of Jost Van Dyke, days earlier than initially planned.
Minister of Health and Social Development, Hon. Carvin Malone announced the decision this evening, July 25.
The lockdown was initially slated to end on Tuesday, July 28.
"Today, I am very happy to report that the BVI Health Services Authority has concluded its testing of all close contacts, the vast majority of persons residing on the island, as well as several recent visitors to Jost Van Dyke, and all test results were negative for COVID-19," Hon. Malone stated.
The island was ordered to be locked down for community quarantine and testing intervention as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.
This step was taken after being notified, and later verified, of a positive case detected in St. Vincent and the Grenadines with links to Jost Van Dyke.
According to the Minister, tests were carried out on 335 persons on Jost Van Dyke, 20 on Tortola and three on Virgin Gorda.
"Based on these encouraging findings, I have today brought into effect the Public Health (Covid-19 Control and Suppression Measures - Jost Van Dyke) (Revocation) Order, 2020 which revokes the 24 hour curfew, testing requirements, and restrictions on movement of vessels between Jost Van Dyke and other places in the Territory," the Minister stated.
He added, "I rejoice with the entire Territory that no evidence of active person-to-person transmission of the COVID-19 virus has been detected on Jost Van Dyke or throughout the Virgin Islands after widespread screening and testing."
Understandably, the Minister stated that the results may give rise to concerns about the necessity of the approach that was taken to safeguard the health of persons who could possibly have been exposed to the virus.
"On the other hand, if positive cases had been detected, the concern may have been that we should have acted sooner, or more aggressively," Hon. Malone pointed out.
He assured that it is Government’s commitment to carefully consider the serious risks posed to our small community with its unique social and economic vulnerabilities, and take decisive actions to safeguard people against this deadly disease.
"I once again express deep appreciation to the people of Jost Van Dyke for their understanding and cooperation with this Public Health measure, despite the many inconveniences caused," the Minister stated.