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Court hearings move online, prison visits suspended amid COVID surge

Court hearings move online, prison visits suspended amid COVID surge

The Magistrate’s Court will be moving hearings online for the next two weeks as the number of COVID-19 cases in the territory continues to rise.
In the statement issued last Friday, the court said, “as we live and work with COVID-19 in the territory, the public is advised that the Magistrate’s Court will not be conducting in-person hearings from January 10 to 24 in the first instance”.

The Magistrate’s Court has been on its Christmas Break since December 9, and operations were expected to resume today. Since the start of the pandemic, the courts have been having a blended approach to its operation.

Some hearings, such as arrest matters and some trials are conducted online while some are done at the physical location.

The statement also noted that any persons wishing to conduct business or inquire about the status of their case should contact 284-468-4360, 284-468-4367, or 284-468-3691.

“Persons who have traveled outside the territory within the last 14 days are advised not to visit the office and only customers making payments will be allowed in the building until further notice, providing that they do not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms,” the court further said.

Meanwhile, the government also issued a notice that visitation at Her Majesty’s Prison have been suspended until further notice.

“The public is notified that due to an increase in COVID-19 cases at Her Majesty’s Prison, His Excellency Governor John Rankin and Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Carvin Malone have agreed that there be a suspension of visitation until further notice,” the notice said.

The territory is currently experiencing one of its largest spikes in COVID-19 cases since the initial stages of the pandemic. The rise in cases has forced many government and private entities to suspend in-person operations.

On Friday, Health Minister Carvin Malone announced the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases stands at 1,049. It was also confirmed that the highly transmissible Omicron variant has found its way into the Virgin Islands.

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