As of yesterday, people in the territory are no longer required to wear masks indoors or apply through the travel portal to enter the territory, Health and Social Development Minister Marlon Penn announced Monday.
These Covid-19 protocols were among various requirements that were relaxed following a briefing by the Health Emergency Operation Centre at a June 8 Cabinet meeting, according to Mr. Penn.
“We were very encouraged by the continuing trend towards milder Covid-19 infections, fewer cases of severe disease, and reduced hospital admissions,” he said. “All of these metrics suggest that we have transitioned away from an acute or emergency phase of the pandemic.”
Also effective yesterday, Cabinet lifted the test requirement for day-trippers and ended mandatory isolation of Covid- 19 cases as well as contact tracing and quarantining of contacts of cases.
“Cabinet also stood down the [HEOC], while noting that the acting chief medical officer, Dr. Ronald Georges, will maintain overall responsibility for Covid-19 monitoring, planning and reporting,” Mr. Penn said.
Travellers arriving in the territory still must present a negative Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of travel, or provide medical certification that they’ve recovered from the disease within 90 days prior to travel, the minister added.
Anyone without test results from the required 48-hour timeframe will be required to test upon arrival, Mr. Penn added.
Meanwhile, private establishments and public sector officers may still require masks to be worn indoors.
“Even as this mask mandate is being lifted, any private establishment or service provider may institute its own policy on mask-wearing,” Mr. Penn said. “The same will apply to the public sector, and the deputy governor will develop a policy on the areas where mask-wearing will still be required, such as in agencies providing health and social care, border protection services, and other front-facing departments where the risk of exposure is higher.”
Last Thursday, government reported 68 active Covid cases in the territory, with one person hospitalised.
That was down from 101 cases reported in the previous update on June 2.
As of last Thursday, 54 cases were on Tortola and 14 were on Virgin Gorda, the update stated.
Sixty-three of those cases were found locally, two through contact tracing, two through travel screening, and one on entry screening at “day zero,” according to government.
Though government announced a shortage of rapid tests last week, no further update was provided this week.