On Friday, government dropped the Covid-19 testing requirement for arriving travellers for the first time since the territory reopened its borders following the pandemic closure. (File photo: GIS)

Travellers arriving in the territory are no longer required to present a negative Covid-19 test result to enter the Virgin Islands, government announced.

The entry test requirement was in place since the territory reopened its borders in October 2020, about six months after the beginning of the pandemic, but it lifted on Friday.

“Currently the statistics are revealing that the virus is having a very minimal impact on those affected, and the mortality rates have decreased significantly,” Health and Social Development Minister Marlon Penn said in a press release issued last Thursday. “That is why we feel at this stage we can re-open the borders and return to pre-Covid normal with regards to travel to the territory.”

24 active cases

On July 13, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronald Georges said there were 24 known active Covid-19 cases throughout the territory as of July 8. Prior to that, government reported 68 cases on June 9 and 101 on June 2.

Dr. Georges, however, urged the public to remain cautious about new Covid-19 variants.

The World Health Organisation is currently monitoring several, and he said the main concerns include the BA.4 and BA.5 variants because of their ability to “escape both natural and vaccine-derived immunity and lead to high numbers of infections,” according to a government press release.

Dr. Georges added, “After genetic testing, BA.2 and BA.4 Omicron variants have been found to be circulating within the Virgin Islands community, while the BA 2.75 variant identified in India has not been identified in the Virgin Islands.”